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  5. Wrold Cup qualifiers: France held by Ukraine; Denmark stay perfect

Wrold Cup qualifiers: France held by Ukraine; Denmark stay perfect

Reigning champion France missed the injured Kylian Mbappé in a 1-1 draw at Ukraine in World Cup qualifying but still stayed atop Europe Group D.

AP Reported by: AP
Washington Published on: September 05, 2021 12:53 IST
anthony martial, antoine griezmann, france football news, france vs ukraine,
Image Source : AP

France's Anthony Martial (right) celebrates with teammate Antoine Griezmann after scoring a goal against Ukraine at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv on Saturday night.

Reigning champion France missed the injured Kylian Mbappé in a 1-1 draw at Ukraine in World Cup qualifying but still stayed atop Europe Group D. Mykola Shaparenko scored his first international goal for Ukraine just before halftime by smashing in a shot from 20 meters on Saturday.

Anthony Martial levelled after the break following a setup from Kingsley Coman and Adrien Rabiot. It was Martial's second international goal and it came five years and three days after the Manchester United forward's previous strike in a friendly against Italy.

Mbappe left France's squad with a calf problem after playing most of a 1-1 draw with Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday.

Ukraine also drew at France in March.

France have nine points from five matches and Finland are next with five points from three matches after a header from Joel Pohjanpalo earned a 1-0 win over Kazakhstan. Ukraine also have five points from five matches, while Bosnia and Kazakhstan have two points each.

Only the group winners directly qualify for the World Cup. Second-place finishers face a playoff. Also, Portugal beat 2022 World Cup host Qatar 3-1 in a friendly despite missing Cristiano Ronaldo.

Here's a look at the action in other groups:

GROUP A

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored twice as Serbia beat Luxembourg 4-1 to move level with Portugal atop the group with 10 points. Mitrovic has scored 43 goals for Serbia in 65 appearances. Ireland and Azerbaijan earned their first points with a 1-1 draw in which Shane Duffy headed in a late equaliser for Ireland.

GROUP F
European Championship semifinalist Denmark extended their perfect start to qualifying with a 1-0 win at the Faroe Islands following a goal from Jonas Wind. Israel beat visiting Austria 5-2 and Scotland edged Moldova 1-0.

Denmark have 15 points, Israel 10, Scotland eight and Austria seven, while the Faroe Islands and Moldova trail with one point each.

GROUP G

Memphis Depay scored a brace and the Netherlands outclassed Montenegro 4-0 to stay second in the group behind Turkey, which beat Gibraltar 3-0.
It was the first home game for Louis van Gaal in his third spell as the Netherlands' coach. Erling Haaland converted an early penalty in Norway's 2-0 win at Latvia to raise his total to nine goals in 14 games for his national team — exactly a year after his first goal for Norway.

Turkey have 11 points, the Netherlands and Norway 10 each, Montenegro seven, Latvia four, and Gibraltar zero.

GROUP H
Marcelo Brozovic scored late for Croatia to beat Slovakia 1-0 and remain level on points with Russia atop the group. Russia is ahead on goal difference after beating Cyprus 2-0 with goals from Aleksandr Yerokhin and Rifat Zhemaletdinov. Also, Slovenia edged Malta with a first-half penalty from Sandi Lovric.

Russia and Croatia each have 10 points, Slovenia has seven, and Slovakia six. Malta and Cyprus have four each.

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