The Belgian second line-up took advantage of this unusual start to impress coach Roberto Martinez as they thrashed Belarus 8-0 in the World Cup Qualifier on Tuesday.
Dan James’s late goal sees Wales beat the Czech Republic. Moreover, Turkey holds 3-3 on par with Latvia, and Croatia beat Malta 3-0.
The Netherlands and Belgium took a big victory. Portugal comes from behind to beat Luxembourg while Slovakia and Norway thrive. Martinez players scouted for places in the Euro 2020 squad.
It lifted Belgium to seven points in three opening matches in Group E. And Belarus lost for the first time after opening the bid to beat Estonia 4-2 at the weekend.
On the top of FIFA rankings, Belgium climbed 4-0 at half-time in Den Dreef as Belarus suffered a significant defeat.
Elsewhere in Group E, the late Dan James gave Wales a crucial 1-0 win over the Czech Republic as both teams finished the game with ten men in Cardiff.
Wales missed the best chance.
Wales missed the best chance of the first half with a rare attack as Gareth Bale’s close effort was thwarted by Thomas Vaclik.
But the midfielders got a numerical advantage after the break as Patrik Schick sent off for raising his hand to Connor Roberts following a boxing tackle.
Roberts got denied a second reservation. He was earning the first in an incident with Schick.
However, Wales played their best afterward, finding the winner as Bale’s cross. The ball being cleverly headed home by James with his fourth Wales goal (81).
Joe Rodon denied Ondrej Celustka a crucial penalty kick in the penalty shoot-out. With Wales holding their first victory in the campaign, leaving them in third place. A point after, the Czechs played one game.
Flies of the second half of the Netherlands headed for Gibraltar.
Netherlands winger Steven Berghuis scored one goal, and he scored another as they won the first half in a 7-0 win over Gibraltar strikers.
Luuk de Jong, Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Donyell Malen all scored when the visitors scored four goals in nine minutes of the second half to give a convincing point. On points after frustrated manager Frank de Boer’s suspension.
Substitute Donny van de Beek added a sixth, and Depay came second as the Netherlands recorded their biggest win since a 7-0 win over San Marino in 1993.
Dutch and Ajax full-back Daley Blind had to be ruled out in the 53rd minute after suffering a concussion and an ankle injury.
De Boer said: “We don’t know how bad it is. However, if it’s a serious injury, yes, it’s a big blow.”
Ahead of the match, the Dutch players also wore T-shirts designed to highlight Qatar immigrant workers’ plight. Who hosted the next World Cup. After joining similar protests by Norwegian and German players in previous matches.
The Dutch advanced to second place in Group G.
The Dutch advanced to second place in Group G with six points from three games. One point behind leaders Turkey, who were surprisingly held 3-3 at home by Latvia.
Turkey went up 2-0 in half an hour. Thanks to goals from Kenan Karaman and Hakan Calhanoglu before Roberts Savalnieks put the goal back.
Burak Yilmaz restored the Turkish lead with two goals in the penalty area before Roberts Uldrikis, and Davis Ikaunieks scored in Latvia.
Norway also won 1-0 against Montenegro. Alexander Sorloth scored his second goal in three games to win.
Portugal survives panic against Luxembourg.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first goal of the World Cup qualifier. But he also missed out on a mysterious retirement as Portugal got forced to come from behind to beat Luxembourg 3-1.
Luxembourg went into the match full of confidence after a 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland.
It took the lead in stunning action against the European champions. While Portuguese-born Gerson Rodrigues, who scored against Ireland, headed in the clock.
Portugal came close to equalizing twice before Diogo Jota scored the equalizer in the second minute of extra time at the end of the first half.
Ronaldo got denied a goal in a 2-2 draw with Serbia on Saturday. Despite the ball falling, they put Portugal ahead early in the second half.
They were firing into the lower corner after a touchdown with Joao Cancelo.
Ronaldo should have scored again halfway through when the ball fell to his feet following a bad comeback in Luxembourg.
But the leading Portuguese player fired straight at Anthony Moris, who saved the striker’s second attempt just after his feet.
Substitute Joao Palhinha put Fernando Santos in front in the 80th minute by hitting Pedro Neto’s corner and scoring his first goal in the country.
And the visitors’ work is easier when Luxembourg’s Maxime Chanot was sent off for the 87th second.
The victory lifted Portugal to Group A by seven points after three games, level with Serbia, with Luxembourg in third place with three points.
Earlier in the day, Serbia won 2-1 against Azerbaijan.
Croatia sees Malta
Croatia beat Malta 3-0 at home. After second-half strikers Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric, and Josip Brekalo forced the striking visitors to submit.
The Group H result lifted Croatia’s 2018 World Cup runners to six points in three games.
Ahead of Russia’s goal difference, after the Russians lost 2-1 to third-placed Slovakia, five points adrift.
Croatia besieged Malta in the first half and created the first two chances as Nikola Vlasic fired wide from 10 yards when Mario Pasalic’s header in the 14th minute hit the crossbar.
Modric and Perisic, who started on the bench after practicing Croatia’s first two games, made a massive impact.
After coach Zlatko Dalic threw them after the break, the home side struggled much to count the supply routes.
Perisic broke the deadlock by finishing off the close range in the 62nd minute.
When he turned the ball over to teammates, Borna Barisic and Modric made it 2-0 on penalties. In the 76th minute after, Kyrian Nwoko took a corner from Mislav Orsic.
Brekalo added a third in the 90th minute with a simple tap after Perisic ran down the left side and put the right pass in the back wing.
Robert Mak scored a goal and secured the winner as Slovakia beat Russia 2-1, ending Russia’s winning streak in the World Cup Qualifying.
Slovenia’s hopes of qualifying look bright after beating Croatia last week. But they are now fading after a 1-0 defeat by Cyprus.
Goalkeepers scored in the 42nd minute when Ioannis Pittas fired past Jan Oblak.
Cyprus is deeply defensive and holds on to their second win in just 14 games.