Cristiano Ronaldo was denied a dramatic late winner in contentious circumstances as Portugal threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Serbia in World Cup qualifying on Saturday.

Diogo Jota had seen his double cancelled out by Aleksandar Mitrovic and Filip Kostic – the former becoming Serbia's all-time leading scorer with his 39th international goal – at the Rajko Mitic Stadium.

Portugal skipper Ronaldo was then convinced his last-gasp effort had crossed the line but the officials judged Stefan Mitrovic cleared before all of the ball had done so, with the Juventus superstar booked for his protestations before he angrily threw his captain's armband on the floor.

It means both Portugal and Serbia, who had Nikola Milenkovic sent off prior to the late drama, each have four points - one more than Luxembourg, who sealed a remarkable 1-0 win against the Republic of Ireland.

Romelu Lukaku maintained his magnificent form to rescue a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw for Belgium against the Czech Republic on a miserable Saturday in Prague.

A superb first senior international goal from Lukas Provod put an impressive Czech Republic side in front five minutes into the second half at Sinobo Stadium on Saturday.

Belgium came from behind to beat Wales in their first Group E game in midweek and they rallied once again to secure a point courtesy of Lukaku’s seventh goal in his last six games for the Red Devils.

Both sides struck the woodwork in an entertaining contest, but had to settle for a draw that leaves them with four points apiece from two matches early in their bid to qualify for the tournament in Qatar next year.

Lukaku fired over and Dries Mertens had an early shot palmed wide by Tomas Vaclik in a promising start for the world's number one international side.

The Czech Republic sensed Belgium were there for the taking as the rain continued to lash down and Michael Krmencik cut inside Jason Denayer before striking the outside of the near post with a left-footed strike 16 minutes in.

There was no let-up in a pulsating first half and Vaclik produced a magnificent one-handed save to keep out Leander Dendoncker's rasping drive, before Kevin De Bruyne failed to generate any power on Lukaku's cross with a close-range header.

It was the home side who got the breakthrough early in the second half with a brilliant finish from winger Provod, who found the far corner of the net with a venomous right-foot finish from 20 yards out after being picked out by Jakub Jankto.

Belgium were only behind for 10 minutes, though, as De Bruyne threaded a ball through to Lukaku and the striker turned Ondrej Celustka inside-out before finding the back of the net with a finish Vaclik might have been disappointed not to keep out.

De Bruyne almost put Roberto Martinez's men in front but saw his right-foot strike come back off the outside of the post and Jan Boril hit the crossbar with a measured late drive at the other end.

Tomas Soucek - captaining his country for the first time - went agonisingly close to snatching a dramatic win right at the end when Toby Alderweireld nodded his looping header off the line, so it ended honours even.

Georginio Wijnaldum suggested the Netherlands must be more "eager" to score after a dominant display against Latvia only resulted in a 2-0 World Cup qualifying win.

Frank de Boer's Oranje bounced back from the 4-2 defeat to Turkey in their Group G opener with an excellent all-round performance in Amsterdam on Saturday.

The Netherlands had 36 shots in total – 16 more than the impressive 20 they managed in losing against Turkey – though only 11 hit the target.

Steven Berghuis and Luuk de Jong were responsible for the two goals, the former curling into the top-left corner before the latter headed in from Memphis Depay's corner.

The Netherlands had 96 touches in Latvia's box, the most since detailed Opta records began in August 2013, far surpassing the previous high of 51 (v Estonia in November 2019).

Though Latvia goalkeeper Roberts Ozols pulled off an impressive eight saves, Liverpool midfielder Wijnaldum, who had five attempts and created three chances, believes his side have to show more conviction in their finishing.

"In itself it was not too difficult tonight, finding the spaces was very easy," Wijnaldum told broadcasters NOS.

"I don't know how many balls they cleared off the line, but I think we should be a bit more eager to score.

"All in all, it is good that we have created so many opportunities. If you want to take a critical look at it, you have to say that we should have done even more to get that ball over the line."

Davy Klaassen and De Jong hit the crossbar either side of Berghuis' opener, the Feyenoord forward's first international goal in his 23rd Oranje appearance.

Meanwhile, Memphis Depay attempted a remarkable 10 shots and played seven key passes.

Captain Wijnaldum was replaced in the 79th minute, having registered an impressive pass completion rate of 90.6 per cent.

The Barcelona-linked 30-year-old was visibly frustrated but insisted that was purely down to feeling he still had more to offer.

"I was a bit disappointed," he said. "The coach and I talked about it. I really wanted to stay because I really had the feeling that I could score another goal.

"But otherwise it is nothing bad. We shouldn't make it bigger than it is."

Frank de Boer claimed a much-needed victory as his Netherlands team defeated Latvia 2-0 in World Cup qualifying.

Requiring a strong response following a 4-2 defeat to Turkey in their Group G opener, Netherlands turned in a much-improved display on Saturday.

With Steven Berghuis' first international strike, a brilliant shot from 20 yards out, having put them ahead, the Netherlands ensured victory thanks to Luuk de Jong's 69th-minute header.

The win relieves some of the mounting pressure on De Boer – taking charge of a Netherlands match in front of fans for the first time – lifting his side up to third.

Buoyed by a vociferous socially distanced crowd at Johan Cruijff ArenA, the Netherlands would have taken a sixth-minute lead through Davy Klaassen if not for Igors Tarasovs' exceptional goalline clearance.

With Janis Ikaunieks' blocked effort all Latvia managed in the opening exchanges, Klaassen had another opportunity in the 27th minute, only for his header to clatter back off the crossbar.

The pressure finally told five minutes later – Klaassen finding Berghuis, who created space on the edge of the area and curled a stunning effort into the top-left corner.

Somehow, the Netherlands failed to double their lead prior to the break, Memphis Depay curling inches wide before Dde Jong headed against the bar from point-blank range.

More profligacy followed after the restart – Klaassen then De Jong missing from a goalmouth scramble.

Vladimirs Kamess looked set to punish the duo moments later, only for his path to goal to be blocked by Owen Wijndal's perfectly timed challenge.

Any danger of a Latvia comeback was ended with a little over 20 minutes remaining, however, as De Jong atoned for his earlier misses with a powerful header from Depay's corner to get the Netherlands up and running.

Luis Enrique is confident Spain can find their creative spark when they face Georgia on Sunday after being frustrated by Greece in their opening World Cup qualifying clash.

Spain had to settle for a 1-1 draw in their first Group B encounter in Granada on Thursday after they could only muster two shots on target.

Alvaro Morata opened the scoring, but Anastasios Bakasetas' penalty 11 minutes into the second half was enough for Greece to earn a point.

Luis Enrique is backing his side to put that disappointment behind them when they take on Georgia in Tbilisi.

The Spain head coach said in a press conference on Saturday: "You depend on the quality of the players and we have a lot of that, for which I am calm.

"There are no bottles of pills for inspiration, if you find them in a pharmacy, buy me two bottles!"

The former Barcelona boss added: "The team has to attack with freshness without problems. We must make a difference in attack and defence."

Luis Enrique is not sure what approach Georgia will take after he felt they were unfortunate to start their campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Sweden.

He said: "I don't know what Georgia will do against us, but against Sweden they generated a lot of scoring chances. I think Georgia deserved to draw that game.

"They played Sweden face to face and I hope for a similar Georgia. It won't be easy."

Luis Enrique once again allayed injury concerns over Sergio Ramos after he was withdrawn at half-time against Greece and said Gerard Moreno's fitness will be monitored in training.

Germany head coach Joachim Low admits he is not completely satisfied with his side with just three months to go until the delayed European Championship finals.

Die Mannschaft cruised to a 3-0 win over Iceland in their opening World Cup 2022 qualifier on Thursday through goals from Leon Goretzka, Kai Havertz and Ilkay Gundogan.

It was a welcome win for Low's men, coming on the back of a 6-0 hammering against Spain in their final match of a poor 2020 that saw them win only three of their eight games.

Germany had 81.5 per cent of the ball, attempted 1,053 passes and had 15 shots compared to Iceland's eight, but Low feels there is plenty of room for improvement.

"I wasn't exactly full of praise for the whole game," he said at a news conference on Saturday previewing the trip to Romania.

"We could have done better in the second half in particular. If we look to the Euros, we have to improve in a few areas. 

"It was a good start and we had a lot of well implemented play. But I'm not yet completely satisfied."

Without the influential Toni Kroos, who withdrew from the squad with a knock, Germany's midfield three of Gundogan, Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich impressed against Iceland.

Jamal Musiala made his debut as a second-half substitute in Duisburg, while Borussia Monchengladbach's highly-rated Florian Neuhaus was also introduced for his fourth cap.

But Low insists Kroos, who remains a regular for Real Madrid, is still integral to his plans.

"The midfield set the tone against Iceland, everyone in their own way. I'm happy about that. But Kroos is a player with immense value to us," said Low, who will end his 15-year tenure after Euro 2020.

"Our strength at major tournaments has been players coming off the bench. We have good players in midfield - any team who wants to achieve something needs that."

Germany's win over Iceland was their 17th in a row in World Cup qualifying, setting a new record and placing them top of Group J ahead of Sunday's trip to Romania.

Niklas Sule has been ruled out of both that match and Wednesday's visit of North Macedonia, while Robin Gosens is also out and Goretzka and Leroy Sane are carrying knocks.

Low does not intend to make many changes ​for the showdown at the National Arena as Germany seek back-to-back competitive wins for the first time since November 2019.

"I'm going to wait until tomorrow to see how things develop with Leon," Low said. "He is the first option in midfield and I hope he can play from the start.

"If he doesn't then it is possible to let Musiala play, or move Serge Gnabry deeper and bring in Timo Werner. Our usual defensive line will start."

Romania kicked off their qualifying campaign with a 3-2 home win against North Macedonia to make it four games without defeat, scoring 12 goals across those fixtures.

And Low expects to face an attack-minded side in Bucharest.

"They have great strengths on the attack and act much more aggressively than Iceland," he said. "We will face completely different challenges.

"I've seen Romania one time or another and we have a lot of information on them. 

"They have technically well-trained players who want the ball. They don't want to defend so much, but they want to play forward. I think Romania's central midfield is very good."

Didier Deschamps acknowledges a five-hour time difference and a synthetic pitch will make life difficult for France in Kazakhstan, but believes the world champions "have an obligation to get a result".

Sunday's early World Cup qualifier takes Les Bleus to Astana four days on from a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Ukraine.

France can ill afford another slip up but face potentially tricky opponents in Kazakhstan, who have not yet played their first match but enjoyed their most successful European Championship qualifying campaign to date ahead of Euro 2020.

That included a dominant 3-0 home win over Scotland, who ultimately qualified for the finals, in which Kazakhstan had just 41 per cent of the possession but mustered 10 shots - including six on target - and their expected goals total (1.2) was double that of the visitors (0.6).

The jeopardy of Sunday's qualifier goes beyond just the threat of the hosts for France, however, as Deschamps' side also contend with travel, jetlag and an unfamiliar surface.

"With my staff, we know this opponent well," the coach told a news conference. "But the difficulty is the lag, because it can be difficult to find sleep, and a pitch different from those on which players are used to playing.

"It's up to us to make sure we're at our level. A trap? I don't know, but there are additional difficulties, yes."

 

Although Bosnia-Herzegovina and Finland drew, meaning France lost no ground in midweek, a response is required following their frustrating outing in Paris.

Les Bleus had 63 per cent of the possession and 18 shots but only three on target, including Antoine Griezmann's spectacular opener.

Ukraine mustered a meagre three attempts, one of which decisively deflected in off Presnel Kimpembe for an own goal.

"Even with a better result, we would have had the same obligation [in Astana] against an opponent who has nothing to lose," Deschamps said.

"It's up to us to do the job, and more than pressure, we have an obligation to get a result.

"The pressure was greater in the Euro qualifiers, when we went to Andorra just after our defeat in Turkey, with the same specificity of the synthetic pitch.

"On what they have done in recent matches, Kazakhstan are solid and concede few goals. It's never simple anyway."

Meanwhile, captain Hugo Lloris highlighted the potential positives of playing on a synthetic pitch for a France side who trailed only Spain in passes (7,360), successful passes (6,571) and average possession (72 per cent) in Euro 2020 qualifying.

"It promotes the short passing game," he said. "We are going to try to get our bearings as best as we can in the training later [on Saturday].

"And tomorrow [Sunday] we'll try to play and have the maximum of fun.

"We expect a match like against Ukraine, to have the ball in front of a low block. We must put intensity in our passes, in our running.

"The use of the ball will be so important, so to adapt to the synthetic pitch will be very important for tomorrow."

England manager Gareth Southgate insists he has never doubted the quality of Luke Shaw.

Manchester United left-back Shaw is expected to make his first England appearance in two-and-a-half years away to Albania in World Cup qualifying on Sunday.

Shaw only has eight caps and has not played for England since a Nations League match against Spain in September 2018.

He has excelled for United at club level this season and has been rewarded with a place in the England squad, which Southgate says is thoroughly deserved.

"Luke played in the first Under-21 game I took charge of – John Stones played right back in fact!" Southgate said ahead of the match with Albania in Tirana.

"There's never been any doubt in our mind about Luke's quality. 

"He’s obviously suffered from injuries and had to withdraw from a few squads. But it has been great to see him playing on the front foot as a full-back both with and without the ball.

"He has been on the front foot with his defending and really ambitious with his attacking and I think that's important. 

"He looks like he is physically in a good condition to be able to drive forward he has got excellent quality with the ball.

"It’s a good moment for him. I've seen somebody who has just delighted to be here, enjoying his football and playing with confidence. 

"First and foremost, Luke is a good defender and that's important for us. We have to keep clean sheets. He certainly seems to have a smile on his face."

Ben Chilwell started at left wing-back in the 5-0 home win over San Marino on Thursday and said after the match the competition between him and Shaw would benefit England ahead of Euro 2020.

He made the most of his opportunity, impressing to create five chances – only Mason Mount (8) had more - and set up the opening goal for James Ward-Prowse.

However, Shaw also has a strong case to start.

The 52 chances created in the Premier League this season by Shaw are more than any other defender in England's top flight and far in excess of Chilwell's 21.

Shaw has five assists to Chilwell's four, with his solitary goal in the recent Manchester derby victory set against two for the Chelsea defender.

Chilwell (79) has attempted more crosses than Shaw (67) but fewer have been successful – 11 compared to 18.

Shaw has attempted 39 dribbles and his 21 completed are two more than Chilwell has attempted overall.

In terms of tackles and interceptions, they are fairly evenly matched, with Shaw up 36-32 on the former metric, while the latter falls 19-15 in Chilwell's favour.

United captain Harry Maguire is looking forward to playing alongside Shaw at international level.

Maguire said: "I'm really pleased for Luke - it is a thoroughly deserved call-up. 

"He's had a great season. He’s creating a lot of chances for us at club level. Hopefully he can bring that to international level."

England will face Albania exactly 20 years since winning the last meeting 3-1 in Tirana in March 2001 through goals from Michael Owen, Paul Scholes and Andrew Cole during qualifying for the 2002 World Cup.

They have lost just two of their last 29 away matches in World Cup qualifying campaigns (W19 D8), with their last defeat coming to Ukraine back in 2009.

England are scoring regularly under Southgate, having netted 42 goals in their last nine qualifiers for major tournaments (W8 L1).

They have scored five or more goals in six of those games under Southgate. The only other Three Lions boss to see England score 5+ goals in as many qualifiers was Bobby Robson (also six).

Nick Pope is set to retain his place in goal for England and could become the first goalkeeper ever to keep a clean sheet in each of his first six international appearances for the country.

Virgil van Dijk will ultimately make the decision on his participation at the upcoming Euros, according to his Netherlands defensive partner Matthijs de Ligt.

Liverpool star Van Dijk has been out since October, with the centre-back having sustained a serious knee injury after a challenge from Everton and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Jurgen Klopp has consistently stressed caution over the return of Van Dijk, who stepped up his rehabilitation at a facility in Dubai before heading back to Merseyside.

It remains to be seen whether the 29-year-old will be fit to play again before the season is out, and as such his participation in the Euros is doubtful.

Netherlands boss Frank de Boer claimed in the build-up to Wednesday's defeat to Turkey that Van Dijk had another eight weeks left on his recovery, with the Oranje coach claiming he was not relying on the former Southampton and Celtic man to return in time for the tournament.

De Ligt, however, was less pessimistic, with the Juventus defender revealing Van Dijk is in good spirits, and will return when he feels the time is right.

"We had a meeting yesterday, [Van Dijk] was there too," De Ligt said on Friday.

"He looked very good, he seemed very fresh and free. Of course, I don't know how he feels physically, he doesn't really want to put any pressure on himself either.

"He has a clear mind and looks at it day by day. He is calm and wants to see where he's at, at moment the Euros are starting. I think it's important for him to be calm, and to be able to recuperate from his injury without any pressure from us or from the country.

"He will decide if he will be at the Euros. If he's there, he’s there. If he's not there, other guys will have to fill his shoes. But yesterday he looked well."

With Inter's Stefan de Vrij having contracted coronavirus, De Ligt's former Ajax team-mate Daley Blind partnered the 21-year-old in defence against Turkey.

It was neither of the duo's finest performances, with Burak Yilmaz scoring a hat-trick in a 4-2 win for Netherlands' World Cup qualification rivals.

Asked who he would prefer to have next to him should Van Dijk fail to make the Euros, De Ligt replied: "That's a question that’s not really relevant to me.

"In the end, it's the manager who decides who plays, what we need. In possession, Daley is one of the best defenders I have ever played with.

"Stefan plays in Italy, is more physical and is stronger than Daley. So it might also depend on our opponents. We also have Nathan Ake and other guys. There are enough options.

"I might not even be playing. That's something the manager decides, that depends on the game. We simply have to respect the manager's decisions."

Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka have been ruled out of England's World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Poland.

Manchester United forward Rashford and versatile Arsenal teenager Saka missed England's opening 5-0 Group I defeat of San Marino at Wembley on Thursday.

Rashford and Saka will also play no part against Albania in Tirana on Sunday and a home clash with Poland next Wednesday due to foot and hamstring injuries respectively.

A Football Association statement said: "Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka will play no part in England's forthcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

"Rashford reported to St. George's Park with an injury that ruled him out of the 5-0 win against San Marino and, following further assessment, it has been decided he will continue his rehabilitation with Manchester United.

"Saka had remained at Arsenal for further assessment on an ongoing issue with the hope of joining up with the Three Lions but will now not be available for the fixtures against Albania and Poland."

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored twice against San Marino, while James Ward-Prowse, Raheem Sterling and debutant Ollie Watkins were also on target as England started their bid to qualify for the 2022 tournament in Qatar with a dominant victory.

Spain head coach Luis Enrique clarified that Sergio Ramos' half-time substitution had nothing to do with injury, instead managing his minutes ahead of two more 2022 World Cup qualifiers as he allayed concerns.

Real Madrid and Spain captain Ramos was replaced at the interval by Inigo Martinez, who gave away the penalty in Spain's surprise 1-1 draw with Greece in Granada on Thursday.

Ramos missed two months of club football with a knee injury, the 34-year-old star defender returning earlier this month for games against Elche and Atalanta before missing Madrid's LaLiga clash with Celta Vigo on Saturday due to a shin issue.

​"Sergio Ramos is perfectly fine," Luis Enrique said post-game. "He didn’t play the last game with his club due to a blow.

"We had already decided in advance that he would only play the first half and he is perfectly fine.

"He is available for the following games."

Ramos, who has a record 179 international caps, is in the mix for Spain's upcoming qualifiers away to Georgia on Sunday and Kosovo on Wednesday.

Alvaro Morata told his Spain team-mates to expect more negative tactics in their next World Cup qualifier against Georgia on Sunday. 

Spain were held to a 1-1 draw by Greece in the country's opening Group B fixture in Granada on Thursday as their opponents set up defensively straight from kick-off.

Morata put Spain ahead with a stylish volley, but visitors Greece equalised with their only shot of the game courtesy of a Anastasios Bakasetas penalty.

Spain monopolised possession with 79.9 per cent and made 920 passes with a successful accuracy of 92.4 per cent.

However, Greece's defence stood firm as they won 42 duels to Spain's 33 with Georgios Tzavellas making the most clearances in the game and Konstantinos Tsimikas the most tackles on either side with five apiece.

Morata predicted Spain's players will face more teams who will try to stifle their play, starting with Georgia at the weekend.

"We'll have lots more games with rivals who try to do this to us," Morata said in a post-match media conference.

"We knew how Greece were going to try and play us this evening. Any international side which knows how to defend can make things difficult for you.

"In fact, Georgia play in a similar style. We need to get used to having complicated moments and trying to get the best from them.

"We have to draw the positives from this match and keep on working hard."

Spain head coach Luis Enrique echoed Morata's sentiments but insisted despite the setback their commitment to play attacking football remains.

"I don't like the result at all, nor have we been inspired," he said.

"I liked the rhythm, but once we pinned Greece back we didn't flow and fashion the chances that would have enabled us to take a clear lead.

"I did like our attitude and the tempo of play that the team tried to produce throughout. Whenever we got near the Greek penalty area, however, we lacked sharpness and efficiency.

"Sunday will be a similar game, with an opponent who uses the same weapons. We'll continue to insist on attacking in the same way.

"This result doesn't change anything for the next two games. [Attacking] is the most difficult phase in football, it depends on the situations you generate. 

"I don't think this result will influence the following ones."

Alvaro Morata told his Spain team-mates to expect more negative tactics in their next World Cup qualifier against Georgia on Sunday. 

Spain were held to a 1-1 draw by Greece in the country's opening Group B fixture in Granada on Thursday as their opponents set up defensively straight from kick-off.

Morata put Spain ahead with a stylish volley, but visitors Greece equalised with their only shot of the game courtesy of a Anastasios Bakasetas penalty.

Spain monopolised possession with 79.9 per cent and made 920 passes with a successful accuracy of 92.4 per cent.

However, Greece's defence stood firm as they won 42 duels to Spain's 33 with Georgios Tzavellas making the most clearances in the game and Konstantinos Tsimikas the most tackles on either side with five apiece.

Morata predicted Spain's players will face more teams who will try to stifle their play, starting with Georgia at the weekend.

"We'll have lots more games with rivals who try to do this to us," Morata said in a post-match media conference.

"We knew how Greece were going to try and play us this evening. Any international side which knows how to defend can make things difficult for you.

"In fact, Georgia play in a similar style. We need to get used to having complicated moments and trying to get the best from them.

"We have to draw the positives from this match and keep on working hard."

Spain head coach Luis Enrique echoed Morata's sentiments but insisted despite the setback their commitment to play attacking football remains.

"I don't like the result at all, nor have we been inspired," he said.

"I liked the rhythm, but once we pinned Greece back we didn't flow and fashion the chances that would have enabled us to take a clear lead.

"I did like our attitude and the tempo of play that the team tried to produce throughout. Whenever we got near the Greek penalty area, however, we lacked sharpness and efficiency.

"Sunday will be a similar game, with an opponent who uses the same weapons. We'll continue to insist on attacking in the same way.

"This result doesn't change anything for the next two games. [Attacking] is the most difficult phase in football, it depends on the situations you generate. 

"I don't think this result will influence the following ones."

Germany's youthful side were in slick form against Iceland but outgoing head coach Joachim Low expects more from their next two World Cup qualifiers.

Iceland proved no match for Low's side on Thursday, with early goals from Leon Goretzka and Kai Havertz paving the way for a comfortable triumph before Ilkay Gundogan rounded out a 3-0 success.

Led by the imperious Joshua Kimmich, Germany dominated throughout.

They had 81.5 per cent possession, attempted 1,053 passes – at an accuracy of 92.3 per cent – and had 15 shots compared to Iceland's eight, with Manuel Neuer only called into action twice.

From his position at the base of midfield, versatile Bayern Munich star Kimmich controlled proceedings, tallying up 176 touches, 150 successful passes and a team-high three crosses, one of which should have resulted in a goal for Antonio Rudiger.

Only Gundogan (four) played more key passes than Kimmich, who was integral to Germany's first two goals, playing sublime balls into Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane as the hosts took a 2-0 lead by the seventh minute – the first time they have led by two goals that early in a competitive fixture since May 1969.

It marked a 17th successive win for Germany in World Cup qualifiers, a new team record.

But Low was not entirely pleased with Germany's display, telling RTL: "In the second half, we played too many passes backwards and missed some moments to trigger momentum and pick up speed.

"I see opportunities for improvement in our game. What made us strong in the first half – a lot of movement without the ball, a lot of deep runs – that wasn't quite the case in the second half.

"We have to see that we keep up the pace and can last for over 90 minutes. That will be important at the Euros."

Despite Low's concerns, Germany did much of their passing in Iceland's half.

Indeed, only Havertz (31), Gnabry and Lukas Klostermann (both 28) among the hosts' outfield starters attempted fewer passes in Iceland's half than Aron Gunnarsson – who led the distribution metrics for the visitors – managed in all areas of the field (33, only 22 of which were successful).

Low, who is departing after the Euros, has received criticism in some quarters following a difficult 2020, and for his decision to ostracise 2014 World Cup winners Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng.

The 61-year-old has hinted the door could be open for the trio to return at the rearranged tournament, though for now he is sticking with youth, handing Jamal Musiala – who would also have been eligible for England – his debut late on.

Aged 18 years and 27 days, the Bayern attacker is the youngest Germany player since Uwe Seeler in October 1954.

"For the most part, I'm satisfied," Low said.

"We started very energetically and dynamically, we wanted to set an example. The team has the right attitude right from the start."

N'Golo Kante is to return to Chelsea on Friday after being ruled out of France's World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Bosnia-Herzegovina with a hamstring injury.

The 29-year-old played the full 90 minutes of Les Bleus 1-1 draw with Ukraine in their opening Group D match at the Stade de France on Wednesday.

However, Kante sustained a minor injury late on in the game and will now be assessed by Chelsea, who have key fixtures to come in three competitions in April.

A statement on the French Football Federation website on Thursday read: "The Chelsea midfielder felt a pain in the hamstrings of the left thigh at the very end of the match against Ukraine.

"He had clinical and radiological examinations on Thursday, which revealed a small lesion.

"In consultation with Doctor Franck Le Gall, national coach Didier Deschamps has decided to put N'Golo Kante back at the disposal of his club on Friday."

Deschamps has opted against calling up a midfield replacement for Kante ahead of the games with Kazakhstan on Sunday and Bosnia-Herzegovina three days later.

Chelsea face West Brom in the Premier League on April 3, before taking on Porto in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on April 7.

Thomas Tuchel's men also have an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City in three weeks' time.

Kante has been used 36 times in all competition by Chelsea this season and was hailed as "world class" by Tuchel earlier this month following a string of impressive displays.

Only two midfielders to have played at least 10 Premier League games this term have made more interceptions per 90 minutes than Kante's 2.56 - Burnley's Josh Brownhill (2.59) and Wilfried Ndidi of Leicester City (2.76).

No other Chelsea regular averages more than two interceptions per game in the competition, Jorginho being next highest with 1.81.

Kante also ranks highly for recoveries, averaging 8.23 per 90 minutes, though that is still some way behind Ndidi's 9.37.

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