France, England, Switzerland stay perfect in Euro qualifiers

Sports Desk, Jun 16 (EFE).- France, England, and Switzerland all won on Friday remain perfect after three rounds of qualifying for the 2024 European Championships.

The Three Lions romped 4-0 against Malta and are 6 points clear atop Group C, while France beat Gibraltar 3-0 to stay 3 points ahead of second-place Greece in Group B.

Switzerland edged Andorra 2-1 and lead Group I by 2 points over Romania, who drew 0-0 with Kosovo.

Malta got off to a terrible start hosting England in Ta’Qali, going behind in the 8th minute on an own goal by Ferdinand Apap, who inadvertently redirected Bukayo Saka’s cross into his own net.

Trent Alexander-Arnold made it 2-0 in the 28th minute with a fine shot from 20 yards out and contributed a few minutes later to the play that won the Three Lions a penalty, converted by Harry Kane for the 3-0.

It was the captain’s record-extending 56th goal in an England shirt. Substitute Callum Wilson scored from the spot in the 83rd minute after Malta conceded their second penalty of the night.

Ukraine, who came from behind Friday to beat North Macedonia 3-2 in Skopje, are second in the group with 3 points, the same as Italy and the Balkan team. All three have played one fewer match than England.

In Faro, Portugal, Les Bleus outshot Gibraltar 31-2 and probably should have won by a bigger margin.

Olivier Giroud, already France’s all-time top scorer, boosted his international total to 54 with a goal in the 3rd minute and captain Kylian Mbappe converted a penalty in first-half stoppage time to put the 2022 World Cup runners-up ahead 2-0 at the break.

Aymen Mouehi’s attempt to block an Mbappe strike in the 78th minute resulted in an own goal for the Gibraltar defender.

Greece edged Ireland 2-1 Friday to improve to 6 points from two matches, 3 better than the Netherlands.

Switzerland built a 2-0 advantage at Andorra la Vella with first-half goals by Remo Freuler and Zeki Amdouni, but Marcio Vieira halved the deficit for the hosts in the 67th minute.

Romania may live to regret settling for just a point in Pristina as they are just 3 points ahead of Israel, 2-1 winners Friday against Belarus, in the battle for second place in Group I.

In Group H, four teams have 6 points each after three matches. Denmark, who nipped Ireland 1-0, are first on goal difference, followed by Kazakhstan, Finland, and Slovenia.

EFE apa/dr

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