Ajaxs 17-year-old defender Matthijs de Ligt became the youngest Holland player since 1931, but his dream debut turned sour as he was responsible for both Bulgaria goals in a 2-0 defeat in Sofia
Matthijs de Ligts dream debut for Holland quickly turned into a nightmare as he handed Bulgaria an early goal in a 2-0 defeat for the Dutch in World Cup qualifying. Bulgaria kept alive their hopes of reaching the finals for the first time since 1998 after Spas Delev struck twice with his first international goals. The 2-0 win at the Vasil Levski stadium sent Petar Hubchevs team to third in the Group A standings with nine points from five games, one point behind Sweden and four behind leaders France. Holland are fourth on seven.
Delev struck twice in quick succession in the first 20 minutes, pouncing on sloppy defending by DeLigt, who at 17 became the youngest Holland player since 1931. DeLigt, who has started in only two league games for his club Ajax, could not have made a worse international debut as he misjudged Simeon Slavchevs long pass, allowing Delev to poke the ball beyond keeper Jeroen Zoet after five minutes.
Delev then punished yet more hesitant defending by De Ligt with a thunderous shot from 18 metres midway through the first half. He gave Zoet no chance after De Ligts clearance found the head of Georgi Kostadinov, who turned provider.
Olivier Giroud struck twice as France stayed top of GroupA with a 3-1 victory in Luxembourg. Giroud, who has started just seven Premier League games for Arsenal this season, found the net in each half and Antoine Griezmann scored a penalty after Aurelien Joachim had equalised for the hosts. Didier Deschampss side, who looked shaky in defence, now have 13 points from five games, three ahead of Sweden.
It was not an easy game but we did what we had to do. Three points, three goals, its positive, Deschamps said.
Emil Forsberg lit up a chilly spring night in Stockholm with an electrifying display of skill and guile, scoring twice as Sweden hammered Belarus 4-0 in their GroupA qualifier at the Friends Arena. Wearing the No10 shirt inherited from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the 25-yearold Forsberg opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 19th minute, firing home past Andrei Gorbunov after Marcus Berg was dragged down. It was a night to forgetfor the Belarus keeper as he gifted Forsberg a second goal, allowing a bouncing shot to slip through his legs and roll agonisingly over the line.
Forsberg was also involved in the buildup to Swedens third, the referee ruling that Bergs header had crossed the line after another attack down the left flank, and the substitute Isaac Kiese Thelin stroked home the fourth and final goal in the 78th minute, latching on to Oscar Hijemarks pass.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored two stunning goals and took his international tally to 70 as he led Portugal to a 3-0 win against Hungary in their Group B match in Lisbon. The Portugal captain scored from 25 metres after he was set up by Andre Silva and smashed in a long-range free kick in the second half. Silva had opened the scoring from a move in which Ronaldo also played a part. The win kept the European champions three points behind the Group B leaders Switzerland, who earlier beat Latvia 1-0 to maintain their 100% record with 15 points from five games. Defeat left Hungary a distant third with seven points and only the slimmest of chances of their first World Cup appearance since 1986.
Andorra ended a run of 58 competitive defeats stretching back more than 11 years by drawing 0-0 with Faroe Islands. It may have been a stalemate against fellow minnows reduced to 10 men, but that did little to quell the celebrations of Koldo lvarezs underdogs. Though they beat San Marino in a friendly last month, Andorra had lost every World Cup or European Championship qualifier since a goalless draw with Finland in September 2005. Andorras competitive record now comprises one win, three draws and 96 defeats, with a goal difference of minus 285.
Bosnia-Herzegovina did their GroupH chances no harm with a 5-0 win at home against Gibraltar, moving the Balkan team between their two main rivals, Belgium and Greece, who drew in Brussels. Romelu Lukaku struck late to rescue a 1-1 draw for Belgium against a Greek side who were down to 10 men for the final 25 minutes and finished with nine. Lukakus turn and shot in the 89th minute cancelled out the opener from Kostas Mitroglou, who scored 18 seconds after half-time in the visitors first real attack of the game, to keep Belgium top of Group H.
Albanias FA strongly denounced events at Fridays 2-0 qualifying defeat by Italy in Palermo, when flares thrown by a group calling itself Illyrian Elite held up the game for nearly nine minutes. Such totally extremist actions have nothing to do with the excellent Albanian fans who were distinguished in the Euro 2016 finals in France for their friendship and camaraderie, the statement said.
Mesut zil is doubtful for Germanys World Cup 2018 qualifier in Azerbaijan on Sunday after the Arsenal midfielder received treatment for a back injury. zil, who missed the 1-0 friendly win against England on Wednesday, skipped training on Friday before the team headed for Baku and was waiting on the final session last night, in the Azerbaijani capital. The Germany coach, Joachim Lw, said: Everyone trained apart from Mesut. He had back problems and received treatment yesterday and today. We will train today and then decide. The world champions are five points clear at the top of Group C.