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Europe, News, Under 21s

European U21 Championship Qualifying: Willy Sagnol’s French Era Starts With A Bang

Yassine Benzia will be keen to make his mark on Lyon's first team this season

Yassine Benzia will be keen to make his mark on Lyon’s first team this season

France 5-0 Kazakhstan

Willy Sagnol began his era in charge of France’s Under 21 boys with an emphatic victory, albeit against much weaker opposition.

Three goals in the opening 17 minutes put his side well on course to a five goal win which saw strikes from Jordi Ferri, Paul-Georges Ntep De Madiba, Anthony Martial, Yassine Benzia and Loick Landre.

Sagnol said: “The players made it look easy. The analysis is mostly positive. We’ve entered into the qualifying round, scoring five goals.

“The quality of our opposition hasn’t really allowed us to see just how far we can go but this team is now starting to play as we want them to.”

Portugal 5-1 Norway

After going a goal down early on, Portugal hit back with five goals to go top of Group 8 after their opening game.

Mushaga Bakenga put Norway ahead after just 15 minutes from the penalty spot after Josue fouled him the area but goals from Betinho, Ivan Cavaleiro, Sergio Oliveira, William Carvalho and Ricardo made sure Portugal grabbed all three points.

Portugal coach Rui Jorge said: “The game was very difficult in the first 30 minutes, we started anxious and lacked focus.

“It’s important to win. The players have to be happy with themselves for the passion they showed on the pitch to turn the match around the way they did. It was fantastic to play in front of these fans, too: they were great throughout the 90 minutes.”

Morata was topscorer at the summer's European U21 Championship.

Morata was topscorer at the summer’s European U21 Championship.

Austria 2-6 Spain

Alvaro Morata hit four goals in Spain’s thrashing of Austria as they look to defend their title they won in Israel this summer.

Spain went 3-0 up inside 17 minutes before Austria could get on the scoresheet. Daniel Carvajal added to Morata’s double before Florian Kainz gave Austria some sort of chance of getting back into the game.

After Morata grabbed his hat-trick, Carvajal was on the scoresheet at the other end before the Real Madrid striker added his fourth and Jese Rodriguez came off the bench to add Spain’s sixth of the evening.

Italy 1-3 Belgium

Belgium shocked Italy as Thorgan Hazard, brother of Chelsea star Eden, got on the scoresheet.

Christian Battocchio put Italy ahead early on but Belgium were deserved winners with strikes from Hazard, Junior Malanda and Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco during the second half.

The result puts Belgium top of their qualifying group with a maximum six points from two qualifying games so far.

Other European U21 Championship Qualifying Results:

Latvia 0-2 Switzerland, Luxembourg 0-3 Georgia, Lithuania 0-1 Finland, England 1-0 Moldova, Hungary 4-1 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey 4-0 Malta, Netherlands 4-0 Scotland, Serbia 2-1 Cyprus.



About Tom Bennett

I'm a 21-year-old Multimedia Journalism student at Bournemouth University aspiring to be one of Britain's top sports journalists. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for contact and further information.


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