The first matchday of UEFA World Cup qualifying is on the books. There were some surprising results from the large number of fixtures that took place over two days. Here are three takeaways from day one of the results.
UEFA World Cup qualification: Three takeaways from the opening games
World Cup finalists don’t win
It wasn’t the best start for the two 2018 FIFA World Cup finalists, with France drawing 1-1 at the Stade de France against Ukraine and Croatia losing 1-0 to Slovenia. Both countries are still able to win their respective groups, but it seems they face more tests than other European giants.
For Croatia their defeat will be more worrying as they have now lost six of their last seven games. Since Russia works with Croatia in Group H, automatic qualification for the World Cup for Croatia is certainly not a matter of course. You need to make sure they collect all three points in their upcoming games against Cyrpus and Malta. Any further points lost on the international game board are reset to lead the group.
France were unlucky not to earn all three points against Ukraine. They had many chances to score a second goal and Presnel Kimpembe’s own goal was an unfortunate distraction. Overall, that result shouldn’t be too worrying as it has to be taken into account that it has been four months since France last played a competitive international game. In the upcoming games against Kazakhstan and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Les Blues should return to winning ways.
Turkey Stun the Netherlands
It was a scoring game between Turkey and the Netherlands when Burak Yilmaz’s hat trick drove Turkey to a shocking 4-2 win. This was certainly a setback for Frank de Boer’s team, who want to return to the World Cup final after a missed year in 2018. It seemed that the Netherlands were on their way back to becoming a force in world football after a strong performance in the 2018/19 UEFA Nations League, but this result shows that getting back to the World Cup will not be an easy task.
Germany remains unbeaten in World Cup qualifying
According to OptaFranz, Germany has won the last 17 World Cup qualifiers, which is a new record in the history of its national team. This has been an incredible display of consistency and dominance when it comes to the qualification campaign.
In their 3-0 win over Iceland on Matchday 1, The team was clinical about the final and it appears that their victories will continue. Although Joachim Low won’t be at the top for the duration of the qualification, the Germans shouldn’t have much trouble winning their group when a new manager is named.
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