Germany’s troubles persist as they endured their second loss within a span of four days, this time succumbing 2-0 to Austria. The situation worsened for the visiting team as Leroy Sane received a red card during the second half. This defeat contributes to the series of letdowns at the beginning of Julian Nagelsmann’s tenure as the head coach of the German national team, following Hansi Flick’s departure.
Nagelsmann has only been able to achieve a single victory in his four matches in command, which occurred during his inaugural game against the USA. Afterward, his team has achieved a 2-2 draw with Mexico, experienced a 3-2 defeat against Turkey on their home ground, and now suffered a loss to Austria. The initial goal of the game was scored by Marcel Sabitzer from Borussia Dortmund in the 29th minute, which set the tone for the struggles faced by Germany. Shortly after the second half began, Sane was given a red card for the first time in his career, as he openly pushed Phillipp Mwene in front of the referee.
The situation deteriorated for Germany when Christoph Baumgartner from RB Leipzig increased Austria’s lead in the 73rd minute, ultimately securing a well-deserved triumph for the hosts. Germany may view themselves as lucky to have the opportunity to host the 2024 European Championships, considering their recent performance. This hosting privilege automatically grants them a spot in the tournament.
Meanwhile, Croatia solidified their place in the European Championships by defeating Armenia 1-0. Ante Budimir’s lone goal secured them second position in Group D, trailing behind Turkey. Consequently, Wales finds itself in third place and must rely on the play-offs to secure their spot, despite their initial hopes of automatic qualification by defeating Turkey and depending on Croatia’s slip-ups. Nevertheless, their optimism was shattered when Yusuf Yazici leveled the score through a penalty kick in the 70th minute, leading to a 1-1 tie. France, on the other hand, encountered a formidable obstacle in Group B as they fell behind with two rapid goals in the second half against Greece. Yet, Youssouf Fofana’s goal in the 74th minute rescued a 2-2 draw for the French, preserving their undefeated streak in the qualification campaign.
In Group I, Romania clinched the leading position with a slender 1-0 triumph over Switzerland. In a closely fought match, Denis Alibec’s goal in the 50th minute became the deciding factor. Israel, who came in third place in the group, managed to secure a 2-0 win against Andorra on their opponents’ home ground. Meanwhile, Belarus emerged victorious with a 1-0 score against Kosova, earning themselves three points.
All in all, this round of qualifiers proved to be quite challenging, yielding unexpected outcomes. Now, the stage is set for the play-offs, where teams will fiercely compete for the remaining positions in the European Championships.