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European football review: Friendlies, quarter-finals and qualifiers

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Roar Rookie
28th March, 2022
7

With me being European and knowing more about football here than football Down Under, I thought I could write an article summarising what has happened in the continent where football is most popular in the past seven days and if it goes down well, then maybe this could become something regular.

If that is the case, then any suggestions for a name for the column would be appreciated.

Monday
With it being an international break, it has been a relatively quiet week in Europe, and this shows with the only professional football game in Europe being Colchester United versus Forest Green Rovers in the English fourth tier, League Two. The away side won 1-0.

Tuesday
Tuesday brought half of the women’s Champions League quarter-final first legs, with Bayern Munich Ladies playing Paris-Saint-Germain Women in Germany and Real Madrid Women played rivals and reigning European champions Barcelona Women in El Clásico. The away teams won in both matches, PSG winning 2-1 and Real being defeated 3-1.

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Wednesday
The women’s Champions League continued, Juventus beating visitors Lyon 2-1 and Arsenal and two-time champions Vfl Wolfsburg contesting a 1-1 draw. A London derby between Chelsea and Tottenham in the Women’s Super League was cancelled due to COVID but Manchester City’s game against Everton Women did go ahead, City delighting the home crowd and winning 4-0.

Thursday
The European World Cup qualifying semi-finals took place on Thursday, the standout game coming with North Macedonia shocking Italy and beating them 1-0, with a 92nd-minute winner coming from Aleksander Trajikovski.

Their final opponents will be Portugal, who defeated Turkey 3-1. Robin Quaison grabbed the only goal of the game, in extra-time, as Sweden beat Czech Republic. In this game, Manchester United teenager Anthony Elanga made his Swedish debut, ruling him out of playing for England or Cameroon, who he was also eligible for.

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A Gareth Bale masterclass earned Wales a 2-1 win against Austria, where he scored an unbelievable free-kick. Scotland and Poland also played out a friendly at Hampden Park, with proceeds of the game going to support Ukrainian civilians.

Friday
Euro under-21 qualifiers were the only European fixtures on Friday, with five games having four or more goals, including an 8-0 Spain win over Lithuania.

Saturday
International friendlies came in abundance on Saturday, with England beating Switzerland 2-1 after a controversially-awarded Harry Kane penalty.

Republic of Ireland impressively drew 2-2 with Belgium and Netherlands winning 4-2 against Denmark. Christian Eriksen scored on his international return.

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On non-league day (yes, that exists) in England, Hollywood-owned Wrexham scored two added time goals to win 6-5 against Dover, who are on -4 points in the national league, England’s fifth tier.

Sunday

Manchester United Women had a historic home match, hosted at Old Trafford on Sunday, beating Everton Women 3-1 in front of 20,241 fans, a season high for the FA Women’s Super League. Also in the Super League, table toppers Chelsea defeated second-bottom Leicester City Women 9-0.

Next week
Next week brings Sweden versus Poland and Portugal versus Turkey for places in the World Cup, both games are on Tuesday. The Women’s Champions League quarter-finals also continue, the second legs taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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