Not all the tiddlers are living it up today, then.
As far as I can tell while trying to watch a gazillion matches simultaneously, Jamal Lewis is having a fine game for Northern Ireland. Defending stoutly and posing a regular threat going forward down the left.
France, who drew with Ukraine in their first match, have been pedestrian so far in Bosnia. They’ve had a fair amount of possession but it’s been slow and sterile.
Weep for Hungary. They’re 0-0 with Andorra after 40 minutes, during which they’ve yet to have a shot on target. In what could prove a big night for tiddlers, San Marino are holding Albania so far.
GOAL! Spain 2-0 Kosovo (Torres 36)
It’s two in two minutes, as Ferran Torres is presented with a one-on-one chance and makes no mistake.
GOAL! Spain 1-0 Kosovo (Olmo 34)
All that possession has finally yielded a goal, and it’s a pearler. Dani Olmo collected a pass from Jordi Alba and spanked the ball into the top corner from the edge of the area.
“I’m watching the Spain-Kosovo match,” reveals Pablo Miguez. “Spain refuses to recognise Kosovo as a country and the state TV is showing ‘kos’ in small letters. The commentators refer to Spain’s opponents as “the team from the Kosovo federation” . Spain dominating but still no goals”
GOAL! Moldova 1-0 Israel (Carp 29)
Israel can probably forget about reaching the World Cup if this scores stays the same. They’ll be bottom of Scotland’s group after three matches unless they turn this around.
Hugo Lloris makes a superb reaction save to turn away a header from a corner and stop Bosnia from taking the lead against France.
Here’s Paulo Biriani with a concise report of what’s been going on in the Spain v Kosovo match so far. “80% of possession for Spain. Lots of blocked shots. Morata should have scored with one chance.”
Northern Ireland are enjoying a good spell against Bulgaria. And they come close to translating pressure into a goal when Paddy McNair curls in a freekick from the right and Josh Magennis heads just over from 10 yards.
GOAL! Kazakhstan 0-1 Ukraine (Yaremchuk 20)
Oleksandr Zinchenko is the creator, teeing up Roman Yaremchuk, who thrashes a low shot into the net. After two draws from two matches so far, the Ukrainians best not let this lead slip.
It’s still 0-0 between France and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The visitors had a good chance to open the scoring just now after a foul on Kylian Mbappe at the edge of the box, but Antoine Griezmann curled the freekick into the wall.
It’s become a scrappy affair in Belfast with both sides making mistakes in a match both known they badly need to win.
Oooh! The Faroes almost shock Scotland with an equaliser, but Craig Gordon hurls himself to his left to push a thunderous long-range drive over the bar!
GOAL! Liechtenstein 0-1 Iceland (Saervarsson 10)
That’s Iceland’s first goal of the qualifiers, in their third match. It gives them a precious lead in what many are already dubbing the Group J wooden spoon decider.
Scotland look minded to finish the Faroes off as early as possible. There’s a dangerous tempo and crispness to their play.
GOAL! Scotland 1-0 Faroe Islands (McGinn 5).
The Scots strong start is rewarded! it was a well worked goal that concluded with deadly simplicity, McGinn steering the ball into the net from 10 yards after a cut-back by Tierney.
It’s been a bright start by Northern Ireland, too. They’re applying lots of early pressure, though Jonny Evans was fortunate to escape a penalty after the ball hit his hand in the box. There was nothing he could have done to prevent it, but you never know whether officials are going to factor that in these days or not.
There’s a clear pattern of play at Hampden Park. The Faroes are basically erecting barricades around their box, with their whole team defending deep. Scotland are probing with good pace, zipping the ball about in an attempt to create openings.
A brisk start by Scotland, who work Ryan Fraser into a shooting position after just 37 seconds. The Newcastle man collects the ball on the right-hand side of the box and chops back on to his left foot before curling a slow shot towards goal. The keeper watches it all the way and doesn’t have to move much to save it.
Kick-offs: The floodlamps have gone on all across Europe, and the balls are in motion.
Armenia on the march
The day’s first result is in and it’s a belter for Armenia! They were trailing 2-1 at home to Romania until the visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 76th minute. The hosts took full advantage, scoring twice in the last five minutes to earn a win that sends them to the top of Group J with three wins from three matches. Plucky Germany could pull level with them if they overcome North Macedonia later.
Northern Ireland v Bulgaria teams
Steven Davis gets his 126th cap as manager Ian Baraclough brings back many of the players omitted for the defeat to the USA.
Bulgaria: Naumov, A Hristov, Antov, Chochev, P Hristov, Despodov, Kostadinov, Vutov, Tsvetanov, Yomov, Galabinov.
Scotland v Faroe Islands teams
It’s an interesting configuration from Steve Clark, with three personnel changes. The switches include Craig Gordon replacing David Marshall in goal, while Kenny McLean and Lyndon Dykes come in for Jack Hendry and Stephen O’Donnell. As for the formation, it looks like Scott McTominay will be in central defence.
Welcome to another bumper batch international fixtures across Europe. Scotland are aiming to boost their campaign by gaining their first win after draws with Austria and Israel and that will require beating their old chums from the Faroe Islands. The Scots need no reminders about the dangers of underestimating them but the fact that the Faroes have scored in both their matches so far – including in Austria (where the ultimately lost 3-1) – should confirm that Steve Clark’s men are fully focused. A win could even lift them into second spot in Group F, depending on how Austria get on against the leaders, Denmark.
Elsewhere, Northern Ireland are also looking to kickstart their campaign, as are their opponents at Windsor Park, Bulgaria. Greece hope build on their draw in Spain by beating Georgia, France face a tricky assignment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Germany and Italy aim to make it three wins from three matches. Here is a handy list of all the qualifiers in Europe today (excluding Armenia v Romania, which will be finishing shortly):
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