France held on to Ukraine; Denmark remain perfect in qualifying

Defending champions France missed out on injured Kylian Mbappé in a 1-1 draw against Ukraine in the World Cup qualifiers on Saturday, but still remained top of Europe’s Group D.

Mykola Shaparenko scored her first international goal for Ukraine just before half-time, crushing a shot from 20 yards.

Anthony Martial equalized 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 striker’s previous goal in a friendly against Italy.

Mbappé left the France squad with a calf problem after playing most of a 1-1 draw against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday.

Ukraine also drew against 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 who took the 1-0 victory over Kazakhstan.

Ukraine also have five points from five matches, while Bosnia and Kazakhstan each have two points.

Only the group winners qualify directly for the World Cup. The second place finishers face a playoff.

Additionally, Portugal beat 2022 World Cup host Qatar 3-1 in a friendly despite the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo.

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

GROUP A

Aleksandar Mitrović scored twice as Serbia beat Luxembourg 4-1 to move closer to Portugal at the top of the group with 10 points. Mitrović has scored 43 goals for Serbia in 65 appearances.

Ireland and Azerbaijan scored their first points with a 1-1 draw in which Shane Duffy scored a late tying goal for Ireland.

GROUP F

European Championship semi-finalists Denmark extended their perfect start to qualifying with a 1-0 victory in the Faroe Islands following a Jonas Wind goal.

Israel beat Austria 5-2 and Scotland beat Moldova 1-0.

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

GROUP G

Memphis Depay scored a brace and the Netherlands outscored Montenegro 4-0 to remain second in the group behind Turkey, who beat Gibraltar 3-0.

It was Louis van Gaal’s first home game in his third stint as coach of the Netherlands.

Erling Haaland converted a penalty kick in Norway’s 2-0 win over Latvia to bring his tally to nine goals in 14 games for his national team – exactly one 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 stay tied on points with Russia at the top of the group.

Russia are ahead on goal difference after beating Cyprus 2-0 with goals from Aleksandr Yerokhin and Rifat Zhemaletdinov.

Furthermore, Slovenia edged out 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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More AP football: https://apnews.com/hub/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Andrew Dampf is at https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf



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