Euro 2024 hosts Germany beat France 2-1 in their international friendly on Tuesday to snap a three-game losing streak and regain some confidence following a bad run which led to the sacking of coach Hansi Flick on Sunday.
Goals from Thomas Mueller and Leroy Sane at the start and end gave Germany, managed by sports director Rudi Voeller for the game, their first win in their last six matches and capped a turbulent few days for the four-time world champions.
While France, 2022 World Cup runners-up, did not field their strongest team, with captain and top striker Kylian Mbappe on the bench, Germany’s overall performance was far improved from Saturday’s 4-1 home loss to Japan that led to Flick’s departure.
“For us it was clear we’d be running a lot today,” Mueller said. “It was a crazy situation in the past three days. But congratulations to Rudi and his staff on how they dealt with it.
“We did what we had to, we worked hard and we were rewarded for it. We should not read too much into this win but for us it was a small emotional release.”
The Germans, who had won four of their previous 17 matches before Tuesday, pressed high and were rewarded when veteran Mueller rifled home from inside the box in the fourth minute for his 45th international goal after a fine 13-pass move.
The French gradually found their way into the game and grew more dangerous, with Randal Kolo Muani and Aurelien Tchouameni piling pressure on the home defence.
Tchouameni’s low drive in the 57th forced a good save from Marc Andre ter Stegen, who also denied Antoine Griezmann in the 82nd by tipping his shot over the bar.
Sane then completed a quick break to score in the 87th before bringing down Marcus Thuram two minutes later for a penalty, with Griezmann cutting the deficit for the visitors.
Davide Frattesi scored twice as Italy claimed a crucial 2-1 win over Ukraine to keep their hopes of reaching next year’s European Championship finals alive.
The defending champions headed into the game trailing their second-placed rivals by five points in Group C following Saturday’s draw with North Macedonia.
But Frattesi’s double in the first 30 minutes gave the Italians valuable breathing space, despite Andriy Yarmolenko reducing the deficit before the break.
Belgium and Austria cemented their status as joint leaders of Group F with convincing wins over Estonia and Sweden respectively.
Romelu Lukaku scored twice in Belgium’s 5-0 stroll over the Estonians, while Marko Arnautovic also hit a double as Austria impressed with a 3-1 win in Solna.
Erling Haaland opened the scoring as Norway beat Georgia 2-1 in Group A in a game that could have seen Scotland seal automatic qualification had it ended in a draw.
The Euro 2024 qualifier between Romania and Kosovo was suspended for just under an hour on Tuesday after Romanian fans repeatedly shouted provocative chants.
The game in Bucharest was stopped in the 18th minute after some of the crowd chanted “Serbia Serbia” and a player confronted people in the stands displaying a sign saying “Kosovo is Serbia”, with the referee sending the players back to the changing rooms.
“The match has resumed after play was suspended due to discriminatory behaviour from some supporters,” Uefa said on their website after an interruption of 50 minutes.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and won recognition from more than 100 countries, but not from Serbia.
Romania scored twice in the final ten minutes to claim the points in a 2-0 win.