There were some huge surprises on the second day of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. A few other favorites wobbled, but pulled their heads out of the noose at the last second. We summarize the greatest sensations.
Luxembourg shocks Ireland
Ireland had to admit a 0-1 defeat at their home Aviva Stadium against Luxembourg on Saturday evening. For the Irish it is already the second loss in a row after the 2-3 against Serbia on the first gameday. It was the next part in a terrible run of results of the Irish who were once so uncomfortable to play against. Also in 2020 the team from the Emerald Isle could not win a single game. The last win in an international match was in November 2019, then 3-1 against New Zealand in a friendly match. Even more shocking than the defeat itself was the lack of chances for coach Stephen Kenny's team. As the Live Trend Data from Overlyzer shows, Ireland could never build up real pressure at home against Luxembourg. The game was even over the whole 90 minutes and Luxembourg recorded even more shots on goal. The last shot in the direction of goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu was in: Gerson Rodrigues made it 1-0 after 85 minutes, thus making a deserved victory for the underdog possible.
Slovakia embarrassing against Malta
Slovakia did not suffer a defeat against the blatant underdog Malta, but the 2-2 against the brave Maltese still feels like a defeat. After just 20 minutes, the hosts were 2-0 down after goals from Gambin and Satariano. Immediately after the break, the Slovaks equalized with a double strike with two header goals from Strelec and Skriniar and everything looked as if Stefan Tarkovic's team was going to spin the game. Subsequently, however, the pressure from the Slovaks eased again and Malta was able to hold the draw. The Maltese even collected more shots on goal than the Slovaks, who, especially in the last resort, were too indecisive and uncreative. After the 0-0 in Cyprus, the second Slovak qualifier disappointment became reality.
After the 4-2 home win over the Netherlands, Turkey set the next strong exclamation mark in the game against Norway which was played in Spain. With two goals from Ozan Tufan and one from Caglar Söyüncü, the Turks won 3-0 against the up-and-coming Norwegians. Norway coach Stale Solbakken let all of his stars, such as Erling Braut Haaland, Alexander Sörloth and Martin Ödegaard show up - but Norway could not oppose the enormously self-confident Turks. When midfielder Kristian Thorstvedt was thrown off the field with a red card ten minutes before the end, the last touch of pressure from the Norwegian side was gone.
Spain beat Georgia in stoppage time
79% possession, 95 attacks carried out - and yet it took until stoppage time for Spain to fix the three points away in Georgia. Georgia had taken a 1-0 lead with a goal from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia shortly before the break after keeping the first half quite open. In the second half, Georgia presented itself ultra-defensive and Spain gradually came up with more chances. Ferran Torres’ equalizer after 56 minutes was a logical consequence. Spain only set the final hit in stoppage time: Dani Olmo, midfielder of RB Leipzig, scored the 2-1 after 92 minutes in the course of the Spaniard's last period of pressure and thus averted a disgrace. Immediately afterwards, the Georgian Levan Shengelia was sent off for a brutal foul.
Denmark score eight
No surprise, but nevertheless unexpected in this clarity, was Denmark's 8-0 victory over the Republic of Moldova. The Danes shone with skill and efficiency. Of the ten shots that went straight to Stanislav Namasco's goal, eight were in. Kasper Dolberg and the 20-year-old Mikkel Damsgaard each scored twice. The Danes always had the game under control and built up 75% possession. The technical strengths of Kasper Hjulmand's team, who never was a professional player himself, were more than one size too big for the overwhelmed Moldovans. The Danes now lead their group with the maximum of points and 10-0 goals. Next opponent: Austria.