Eden Hazard won his 100th Belgium cap tonight and marked it by opening the scoring in their 2-0 win in Cyprus, while Toni Rudiger featured as Germany began their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a fine 3-2 victory against the Netherlands.
Hazard, who relishes a landmark occasion, brought up his century of international caps just a couple of months after his 28th birthday. He made his Belgium debut at the age of 17.
In Nicosia tonight 10 minutes had passed when the ball broke to Hazard inside the box, and he instinctively fired into the top right-hand corner to break the deadlock. It was his 30th goal for the Red Devils, and his third in four days after netting a brace against Russia earlier this week. He has also registered 26 assists for them.
Since being made permanent captain after Euro 2016, Hazard has 16 goals and 14 assists to his name. No wonder the great Enzo Scifo labelled him the best Belgian player of all time this week.
Shortly after Hazard’s opener, Michy Batshuayi doubled the Red Devils’ advantage with a neat finish after Thorgan Hazard had slipped him in behind the Cypriot defence. That was the striker’s 13th goal in 25 games for Belgium.
They saw out the win with ease thereafter making it six points from a possible six at the start of their qualifying campaign for next summer’s European Championships.
There was a thriller in Amsterdam tonight and it ended with Rudiger a happy man as Germany beat the Netherlands 3-2.
Rudiger played the accurate long pass which set up Serge Gnabry’s brilliant goal that put the Germans 2-0 ahead before half-time. The hosts fought back after the interval to make it 2-2, but a last-minute winner from Hoffenheim’s Nico Schulz secured a memorable away win. Rudiger completed the game in the heart of the Germany defence.
Elsewhere tonight, Mateo Kovacic was an unused sub as Croatia were surprisingly beaten in Hungary. Four teams are now on three points in what looks set to be a tight race for Euro 2020 qualifying from Group E.
Earlier today England Under-18s defeated Mexico 3-2 in Dubai, securing second spot in the UAE Sports Chain Cup. Clinton Mola played the full game for the Young Lions who surrended a two-goal advantage but struck the decisive fifth to end their mini-tournament in the Middle East successfully.
It was a dramatic day for England's Under-17 side too as they managed a goalless draw with Croatia despite playing over half the game with 10 men. Valentino Livramento completed the game at full-back, while Lewis Bate was introduced as a late sub. Myles Peart-Harris remained on the bench. The result means England will qualify for this summer's European Championships at that level with victory over Denmark on Wednesday.