It was a very eventful matchday in the 2022 FIFA World Cup European qualifiers that saw big wins for the Netherlands and Belgium while Portugal survived a Luxembourg scare.

Group E

It was Roberto Martinez’s second-string that featured for the Belgians as they faced Belarus in the European World Cup qualifiers and they seemed to have given a good selection headache to their head coach as they thumped the opposition 8-0.

6 players found their names on the scoresheet for the Red Devils who now sit handsomely at the top of Group E, 3 points ahead of second-placed Czech Republic.


Belgium crushed Belarus 8-0. (Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Michy Batshuayi, Jeremy Doku, Dennis Praet and Christian Benteke all scored for the side as Hans Vanaken and Leandro Trossard both netted a brace to cap a fantastic display by the Belgians.

Stars Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Dries Mertens were all given a night off and rightfully so as Martinez was able to depend on his second team to give them a whopping victory.

Belgium were 4-0 up at half-time at Den Dreef as they crushed Belarus to force them into their heaviest ever defeat.

The other match in Group E saw Daniel James score a stunning header to give Wales a massive 1-0 win over group rivals Czech Republic in Cardiff. The Manchester United midfielder scored in the 81st minute to give the Welsh 3 points that will keep them in touch for qualification.

Group G

The Netherlands thumped minnows Gibraltar 7-0 after a wasteful first half to score 4 goals in 9 minutes in the second half. Luuk de Jong, Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum and Donyell Malen all scored in this span of time.

Steven Berghuis and Donny van de Beek also found the back of the net for Oranje. Memphis netted his second as the Dutch now sit in 2nd place tied on 6 points with Montenegro and Norway.

Memphis Depay

Memphis (R) scored a brace in Netherlands’ 7-0 win over Gibraltar (Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images)

Turkey are currently first in Group G with 7 points, which is turning out to be the most entertaining group in the World Cup qualifiers.

The Turkish have looked the best side in Group G but were surprisingly held to a 3-3 draw at home by Latvia.

The Turks went up 2-0 in just over half an hour thanks to goals from Kenan Karaman and Hakan Calhanoglu before Roberts Savalnieks pulled one back.

In-form Burak Yilmaz restored Turkey’s two-goal lead from the penalty spot but Roberts Uldrikis and Davis Ikaunieks spoiled the Turkish party to secure a point for Latvia.

Norway were also 1-0 winners against Montenegro as Alexander Sorloth found the net once again to give the Norwegians a win.

Group A

European champions and UEFA Nations League winners Portugal avoided a scare after going a goal down against Luxembourg to comeback and win 3-1 to stay on top of the group.

Cristiano Ronaldo bagged his first goal of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers but also missed a sitter.

Gerson Rodrigues opened the scoring with a header to put Luxembourg ahead before Liverpool attacker Diogo Jota equalised with a header as well just before the end of the first half.

Portugal captain Ronaldo scored early on in the second half to give Portugal the lead and an 80th minute goal by substitute Joao Palhinha put Fernando Santos’ team up 3-1 to finish the job.

Serbia won 2-1 earlier against Azerbaijan, which keeps them level on points with the Portuguese on 7 points after 3 games.

Group H

2018 FIFA World Cup finalists Croatia made it 2 wins out of 3 after beating Malta 3-0 to stay on top of Group H.

Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric and Josip Brekalo scored for the Croatians who are ahead of Russia on goal difference. Russia lost 2-1 to Slovakia who now sit in 3rd place with 5 points.

Modric and Perisic started from the bench after having started the first 2 qualifiers but were required to put the game to bed after coach Zlatko Dalic brought them on shortly after the first half.

Perisic opened the scoring with a close-range finish in the 62nd minute when he connected on a cross by fellow substitute Borna Barisic. Croatian captain Modric who just recently became the country’s most-capped player, made it 2-0 with a 76th-minute penalty after Kyrian Nwoko handled the ball from a Mislav Orsic corner.


Croatia players celebrate after scoring against Malta (Photo by Slavko Midzor/Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images)

Brekalo added the third in the 90th minute with a simple tap-in after Perisic squared a perfect pass to the wing back to finish off and give the World Cup runners-up an important win.

Robert Mak put in a man of the match performance as he scored the winner to see Slovakia beat Russia 2-1, ending the Russians’ perfect winning start to qualifying.

Slovenia suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Cyprus that has dented their qualifying campaign after beating Croatia.

The hosts scored against the run of play in the 42nd minute when Ioannis Pittas beat Jan Oblak in goal to secure the victory for the side.

Cyprus defended deep and managed to hold on for only their second win in 14 games to leap frog Slovenia in Group H. Cyprus are now on 4 points and sit in 4th place in the group ahead of Slovenia and Malta.