Croatia beaten by Hungary, Hazard on target as Belgium win in Cyprus

Guardian sport


The World Cup finalists Croatia continued their shaky start to qualifying with a 2-1 defeat by Hungary. They had taken an early lead in Budapest through Ante Rebic after 13 minutes but lacked defensive organisation and allowed Adam Szalai to draw Hungary level 20 minutes later, before Mate Patkai scored the winner for Hungary from a corner in the 76th minute. The result means Croatia are fourth on goal difference in Group E, which includes Wales, after their 2-1 home win over Azerbaijan on Saturday.

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Eden Hazard marked his 100th cap with an early goal to set Belgium on their way to a comfortable 2-0 win in Cyprus. Michy Batshuayi got the other goal for the top team in the Fifa rankings, who began their campaign last Thursday with a 3-1 home win over Russia and now have six points from their opening two games in Group I.

Hazard opened the scoring after 10 minutes with a curling shot after Batshuayi had set him up. It was his 30th international goal. Batshuayi doubled the score eight minutes later, running on to a pass over the top of the home defence from Thorgan Hazard, knocking it past the onrushing goalkeeper Urko Pardo and sliding the ball into the net from a tight angle.

Belgium, without Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku due to injury, cruised through the rest of the contest to take to 12 games their unbeaten record against Cyprus.

Poland made it two wins out of two at the start of their qualifying campaign after second-half goals by Robert Lewandowski and Kamil Glik gave them a 2-0 home win over Latvia in Group G. In the group’s other games an Eran Zahavi hat-trick steered Israel to a 4-2 home win over Austria while Slovenia were held to a 1-1 home draw by North Macedonia.

Poland, who beat Austria 1-0 away in their opening match, lead the way with six points from two games. Israel and North Macedonia have four each and Slovenia have two while Austria and Latvia are pointless.

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