Kylian Mbappe missed a second-half penalty but a much-changed France still coasted to a 2-0 win away to Kazakhstan in World Cup qualifying.

Les Bleus were punished for wasteful finishing in their opening Group D game against Ukraine on Thursday, allowing their opponents – who failed to manage a shot on target – to grab a 1-1 draw through Presnel Kimpembe's own goal.

However, there was to be no repeat on Sunday as the reigning champions registered a first win in Group D at the second attempt.

Ousmane Dembele gave the visitors a 19th-minute lead in Astana, accepting a pass from Anthony Martial before firing a low shot across goalkeeper Alexandr Mokin for a rare international goal.

Kazakhstan defended in stoic fashion for the remainder of the first half until unfortunately falling further behind just before the interval, France doubling their advantage thanks to an own goal.

Having impressively denied Martial from scoring with a superb last-gasp clearance, poor Sergiy Maliy – preoccupied with marking Paul Pogba – then headed the resulting corner into his net.

Antoine Griezmann – who, along with goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, retained his place in the starting XI – had a goal ruled out for offside early in a second half that saw Martial forced off with an apparent injury sustained while playing on a synthetic surface.

Replacement Mbappe offered a far greater threat during a cameo appearance off the bench, including drawing a foul from the combination of Nuraly Alip and Temirlan Erlanov inside the area.

However, the Paris Saint-Germain forward was unable to capitalise on the opportunity from 12 yards out, Mokin guessing correctly as he dived to his left to turn away the spot-kick attempt.

What does it mean? Job done, despite laboured display

There may have been a concern that France were in danger of history being repeated when they struggled to build on Dembele's opener, despite controlling proceedings. They coasted in the second half too, yet still ended up having 15 shots – nine of which were on target.

Still, qualifying is about results, rather than performances. Considering the long journey and the artificial pitch, collecting three points was all that mattered.

Dembele shows Deschamps what he can do

Ahead of the trio of international fixtures in March, Deschamps had challenged the recalled Dembele to be a more consistent contributor, both for club and country.

The Barcelona forward certainly made a difference against Kazakhstan, moving into double figures for goals in the 2020-21 season when opening the scoring with a crisp finish.

Missed opportunity for Martial

Martial looked certain to grab just his second international goal from Thomas Lemar's chipped cross, yet Maliy stretched out a leg to somehow send the ball over the crossbar.

Instead of being able to celebrate scoring, he finished the game with concerns over his fitness. In 59 minutes, Martial completed 78.3 per cent of his attempted passes and had three shots, two of which were on target. There was also the assist for Dembele too, yet Mbappe was far more prominent following his introduction.

What's next?

Both teams are back in qualifying action on Wednesday. France have a trip to Sarajevo to take on Bosnia-Herzegovina, while Kazakhstan head on the road as they travel to Ukraine

Cristiano Ronaldo said he will "never change" following his angry outburst after the Portugal captain was denied a dramatic late winner in contentious circumstances against Serbia.

Ronaldo was convinced his last-gasp effort crossed the line, but the officials gave the all clear as 10-man Serbia rallied from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw in World Cup qualifying on Saturday.

Stefan Mitrovic made back-to-back goal-line clearances to thwart Portugal in stoppage time, though Ronaldo was left fuming as the superstar was adamant his effort crossed line in Belgrade, where there was no VAR in place to review the decision.

Ronaldo was booked for his protestations before he angrily threw his captain's armband on the floor and walked off the field with just seconds remaining.

Afterwards, Ronaldo used Instagram and social media to discuss the controversial incident away to Serbia in the Group A showdown.

"Being captain of the Portugal team is one of the greatest pride and privileges of my life," Ronaldo wrote. "I always give and will give everything for my country, that will never change.

"But there are difficult times to deal with, especially when we feel that an entire nation is being punished. Lift your head and face the next challenge now! Come on, Portugal!"

Portugal head coach Fernando Santos revealed "embarrassed" referee Danny Makkelie apologised post-match in the Serbian capital.

"The referee apologised to me in the booth and told me he was embarrassed," Santos said during his news conference. "I was in the dressing room with him and he apologised to me. He had told me on the pitch that he was going to see the images and that if it was the case he was calling me to apologise ... and so it was.

"It is the second time in a qualifying phase that they apologise after the game ... I told him on the field that such a test there is no VAR or goal line ... Incidentally, one of the things he told me was that the goal line was important… but I told him that the ball was half a metre inside the goal. There was no obstacle between the goalkeeper and the goal line.

"We have to rethink. The referees are human and make mistakes, but that's why there is the VAR and the goal-line technology to avoid this."

The result left Serbia and Portugal level on four points atop Group A, one point ahead of Luxembourg through two matchdays.

On the incident, Serbia boss Dragan Stojkovic added: "I never comment on referee's decisions whether they go our way or not. Mistakes by officials are part of the game and should be viewed as such. I didn't see it clearly, I can only pass a verdict after I've seen the replay.

"Ronaldo is a great player but we largely contained him tonight and in the second half we showed true grit and character to fight back from two goals down.

"We always knew what to expect from a top team like Portugal but against such opposition you have to be brave and never give up. This group of players is quickly learning that."

Tottenham and England star Harry Kane said he will decide his future after the upcoming European Championships.

Kane has been linked with Premier League rivals Manchester United and Manchester City, as well as LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

The 27-year-old striker, who emerged from Tottenham's youth team in 2009, is contracted to Spurs until 2024.

But Kane is shutting out speculation over his future as he prepares for Tottenham's EFL Cup final against City next month and England's bid to claim their first piece of international silverware since 1966 at the rescheduled Euro 2020.

"I think that's a hard question to answer right now," Kane told the Telegraph when asked about the noise surrounding his future at Tottenham.

"It's important that all my focus is on the two England games coming up now and the rest of the season with Spurs and then the Euros.

"To be thinking about speculation or rumours would be damaging in terms of my own performance.

"I always like to be focused on one goal and one job and that's to finish strong with Spurs, win these qualifiers with England and hopefully go on and have a great Euros.

"Look, I try to stay out of that speculation as much as possible.

"I'm fully focussed on doing the job on the pitch from now until the end of the summer, and then we'll see where we go from there."

Jose Mourinho's Tottenham are sixth in the Premier League, three points outside of the Champions League qualification places ahead of the April 25 EFL Cup decider against City.

England have been drawn in Group D for Euro 2020, which gets underway in June, alongside Croatia, Scotland and Czech Republic.

Kane has scored 17 Premier League goals this season, while he has netted 27 across all competitions for Tottenham in 2020-21.

Roberto Martinez was impressed by the way Belgium rallied to secure a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw with a "very good" Czech Republic side.

Lukas Provod put Czech Republic in front five minutes into the second half via a rasping drive from 20 yards out at Sinobo Stadium on Saturday.

Belgium hit back to salvage a point in Prague courtesy of Romelu Lukaku's seventh goal in his last six games for his country.

Czech Republic struck the woodwork twice and Kevin De Bruyne hit the post before Tomas Soucek's last-gasp header was cleared off the line by Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld.

The two nations have four points apiece after two Group E matches early in the battle to qualify for next year's tournament in Qatar, with Czech Republic top on goal difference.

Belgium manager Martinez was pleased with the way his team responded to falling behind, having also fought back to beat Wales 3-1 on Wednesday.

"We were put in difficulty by a very good Czech team and we had to adapt, to change our way of playing and responding," Martinez said.

"We were able to react and that's what I will remember from this match. We did not accept the situation after conceding the goal. We have to do better, of course, but I'm pretty happy with the team's reaction."

Martinez revealed Dries Mertens was withdrawn due to a shoulder injury, but was unsure over the extent of the damage.

The Spaniard refused to be drawn on whether in-form striker Lukaku and key midfielder De Bruyne will be rested when the top-ranked side in international football face Belarus on Tuesday.

"We will look at each case separately. We will first regenerate the bodies, because playing three matches in seven days is not easy." he said.

Cristiano Ronaldo was denied a dramatic late winner in contentious circumstances as Portugal threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Serbia in World Cup qualifying on Saturday.

Diogo Jota had seen his double cancelled out by Aleksandar Mitrovic and Filip Kostic – the former becoming Serbia's all-time leading scorer with his 39th international goal – at the Rajko Mitic Stadium.

Portugal skipper Ronaldo was then convinced his last-gasp effort had crossed the line but the officials judged Stefan Mitrovic cleared before all of the ball had done so, with the Juventus superstar booked for his protestations before he angrily threw his captain's armband on the floor.

It means both Portugal and Serbia, who had Nikola Milenkovic sent off prior to the late drama, each have four points - one more than Luxembourg, who sealed a remarkable 1-0 win against the Republic of Ireland.

Romelu Lukaku maintained his magnificent form to rescue a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw for Belgium against the Czech Republic on a miserable Saturday in Prague.

A superb first senior international goal from Lukas Provod put an impressive Czech Republic side in front five minutes into the second half at Sinobo Stadium on Saturday.

Belgium came from behind to beat Wales in their first Group E game in midweek and they rallied once again to secure a point courtesy of Lukaku’s seventh goal in his last six games for the Red Devils.

Both sides struck the woodwork in an entertaining contest, but had to settle for a draw that leaves them with four points apiece from two matches early in their bid to qualify for the tournament in Qatar next year.

Lukaku fired over and Dries Mertens had an early shot palmed wide by Tomas Vaclik in a promising start for the world's number one international side.

The Czech Republic sensed Belgium were there for the taking as the rain continued to lash down and Michael Krmencik cut inside Jason Denayer before striking the outside of the near post with a left-footed strike 16 minutes in.

There was no let-up in a pulsating first half and Vaclik produced a magnificent one-handed save to keep out Leander Dendoncker's rasping drive, before Kevin De Bruyne failed to generate any power on Lukaku's cross with a close-range header.

It was the home side who got the breakthrough early in the second half with a brilliant finish from winger Provod, who found the far corner of the net with a venomous right-foot finish from 20 yards out after being picked out by Jakub Jankto.

Belgium were only behind for 10 minutes, though, as De Bruyne threaded a ball through to Lukaku and the striker turned Ondrej Celustka inside-out before finding the back of the net with a finish Vaclik might have been disappointed not to keep out.

De Bruyne almost put Roberto Martinez's men in front but saw his right-foot strike come back off the outside of the post and Jan Boril hit the crossbar with a measured late drive at the other end.

Tomas Soucek - captaining his country for the first time - went agonisingly close to snatching a dramatic win right at the end when Toby Alderweireld nodded his looping header off the line, so it ended honours even.

Georginio Wijnaldum suggested the Netherlands must be more "eager" to score after a dominant display against Latvia only resulted in a 2-0 World Cup qualifying win.

Frank de Boer's Oranje bounced back from the 4-2 defeat to Turkey in their Group G opener with an excellent all-round performance in Amsterdam on Saturday.

The Netherlands had 36 shots in total – 16 more than the impressive 20 they managed in losing against Turkey – though only 11 hit the target.

Steven Berghuis and Luuk de Jong were responsible for the two goals, the former curling into the top-left corner before the latter headed in from Memphis Depay's corner.

The Netherlands had 96 touches in Latvia's box, the most since detailed Opta records began in August 2013, far surpassing the previous high of 51 (v Estonia in November 2019).

Though Latvia goalkeeper Roberts Ozols pulled off an impressive eight saves, Liverpool midfielder Wijnaldum, who had five attempts and created three chances, believes his side have to show more conviction in their finishing.

"In itself it was not too difficult tonight, finding the spaces was very easy," Wijnaldum told broadcasters NOS.

"I don't know how many balls they cleared off the line, but I think we should be a bit more eager to score.

"All in all, it is good that we have created so many opportunities. If you want to take a critical look at it, you have to say that we should have done even more to get that ball over the line."

Davy Klaassen and De Jong hit the crossbar either side of Berghuis' opener, the Feyenoord forward's first international goal in his 23rd Oranje appearance.

Meanwhile, Memphis Depay attempted a remarkable 10 shots and played seven key passes.

Captain Wijnaldum was replaced in the 79th minute, having registered an impressive pass completion rate of 90.6 per cent.

The Barcelona-linked 30-year-old was visibly frustrated but insisted that was purely down to feeling he still had more to offer.

"I was a bit disappointed," he said. "The coach and I talked about it. I really wanted to stay because I really had the feeling that I could score another goal.

"But otherwise it is nothing bad. We shouldn't make it bigger than it is."

Frank de Boer claimed a much-needed victory as his Netherlands team defeated Latvia 2-0 in World Cup qualifying.

Requiring a strong response following a 4-2 defeat to Turkey in their Group G opener, Netherlands turned in a much-improved display on Saturday.

With Steven Berghuis' first international strike, a brilliant shot from 20 yards out, having put them ahead, the Netherlands ensured victory thanks to Luuk de Jong's 69th-minute header.

The win relieves some of the mounting pressure on De Boer – taking charge of a Netherlands match in front of fans for the first time – lifting his side up to third.

Buoyed by a vociferous socially distanced crowd at Johan Cruijff ArenA, the Netherlands would have taken a sixth-minute lead through Davy Klaassen if not for Igors Tarasovs' exceptional goalline clearance.

With Janis Ikaunieks' blocked effort all Latvia managed in the opening exchanges, Klaassen had another opportunity in the 27th minute, only for his header to clatter back off the crossbar.

The pressure finally told five minutes later – Klaassen finding Berghuis, who created space on the edge of the area and curled a stunning effort into the top-left corner.

Somehow, the Netherlands failed to double their lead prior to the break, Memphis Depay curling inches wide before Dde Jong headed against the bar from point-blank range.

More profligacy followed after the restart – Klaassen then De Jong missing from a goalmouth scramble.

Vladimirs Kamess looked set to punish the duo moments later, only for his path to goal to be blocked by Owen Wijndal's perfectly timed challenge.

Any danger of a Latvia comeback was ended with a little over 20 minutes remaining, however, as De Jong atoned for his earlier misses with a powerful header from Depay's corner to get the Netherlands up and running.

Luis Enrique is confident Spain can find their creative spark when they face Georgia on Sunday after being frustrated by Greece in their opening World Cup qualifying clash.

Spain had to settle for a 1-1 draw in their first Group B encounter in Granada on Thursday after they could only muster two shots on target.

Alvaro Morata opened the scoring, but Anastasios Bakasetas' penalty 11 minutes into the second half was enough for Greece to earn a point.

Luis Enrique is backing his side to put that disappointment behind them when they take on Georgia in Tbilisi.

The Spain head coach said in a press conference on Saturday: "You depend on the quality of the players and we have a lot of that, for which I am calm.

"There are no bottles of pills for inspiration, if you find them in a pharmacy, buy me two bottles!"

The former Barcelona boss added: "The team has to attack with freshness without problems. We must make a difference in attack and defence."

Luis Enrique is not sure what approach Georgia will take after he felt they were unfortunate to start their campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Sweden.

He said: "I don't know what Georgia will do against us, but against Sweden they generated a lot of scoring chances. I think Georgia deserved to draw that game.

"They played Sweden face to face and I hope for a similar Georgia. It won't be easy."

Luis Enrique once again allayed injury concerns over Sergio Ramos after he was withdrawn at half-time against Greece and said Gerard Moreno's fitness will be monitored in training.

Germany head coach Joachim Low admits he is not completely satisfied with his side with just three months to go until the delayed European Championship finals.

Die Mannschaft cruised to a 3-0 win over Iceland in their opening World Cup 2022 qualifier on Thursday through goals from Leon Goretzka, Kai Havertz and Ilkay Gundogan.

It was a welcome win for Low's men, coming on the back of a 6-0 hammering against Spain in their final match of a poor 2020 that saw them win only three of their eight games.

Germany had 81.5 per cent of the ball, attempted 1,053 passes and had 15 shots compared to Iceland's eight, but Low feels there is plenty of room for improvement.

"I wasn't exactly full of praise for the whole game," he said at a news conference on Saturday previewing the trip to Romania.

"We could have done better in the second half in particular. If we look to the Euros, we have to improve in a few areas. 

"It was a good start and we had a lot of well implemented play. But I'm not yet completely satisfied."

Without the influential Toni Kroos, who withdrew from the squad with a knock, Germany's midfield three of Gundogan, Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich impressed against Iceland.

Jamal Musiala made his debut as a second-half substitute in Duisburg, while Borussia Monchengladbach's highly-rated Florian Neuhaus was also introduced for his fourth cap.

But Low insists Kroos, who remains a regular for Real Madrid, is still integral to his plans.

"The midfield set the tone against Iceland, everyone in their own way. I'm happy about that. But Kroos is a player with immense value to us," said Low, who will end his 15-year tenure after Euro 2020.

"Our strength at major tournaments has been players coming off the bench. We have good players in midfield - any team who wants to achieve something needs that."

Germany's win over Iceland was their 17th in a row in World Cup qualifying, setting a new record and placing them top of Group J ahead of Sunday's trip to Romania.

Niklas Sule has been ruled out of both that match and Wednesday's visit of North Macedonia, while Robin Gosens is also out and Goretzka and Leroy Sane are carrying knocks.

Low does not intend to make many changes ​for the showdown at the National Arena as Germany seek back-to-back competitive wins for the first time since November 2019.

"I'm going to wait until tomorrow to see how things develop with Leon," Low said. "He is the first option in midfield and I hope he can play from the start.

"If he doesn't then it is possible to let Musiala play, or move Serge Gnabry deeper and bring in Timo Werner. Our usual defensive line will start."

Romania kicked off their qualifying campaign with a 3-2 home win against North Macedonia to make it four games without defeat, scoring 12 goals across those fixtures.

And Low expects to face an attack-minded side in Bucharest.

"They have great strengths on the attack and act much more aggressively than Iceland," he said. "We will face completely different challenges.

"I've seen Romania one time or another and we have a lot of information on them. 

"They have technically well-trained players who want the ball. They don't want to defend so much, but they want to play forward. I think Romania's central midfield is very good."

Didier Deschamps acknowledges a five-hour time difference and a synthetic pitch will make life difficult for France in Kazakhstan, but believes the world champions "have an obligation to get a result".

Sunday's early World Cup qualifier takes Les Bleus to Astana four days on from a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Ukraine.

France can ill afford another slip up but face potentially tricky opponents in Kazakhstan, who have not yet played their first match but enjoyed their most successful European Championship qualifying campaign to date ahead of Euro 2020.

That included a dominant 3-0 home win over Scotland, who ultimately qualified for the finals, in which Kazakhstan had just 41 per cent of the possession but mustered 10 shots - including six on target - and their expected goals total (1.2) was double that of the visitors (0.6).

The jeopardy of Sunday's qualifier goes beyond just the threat of the hosts for France, however, as Deschamps' side also contend with travel, jetlag and an unfamiliar surface.

"With my staff, we know this opponent well," the coach told a news conference. "But the difficulty is the lag, because it can be difficult to find sleep, and a pitch different from those on which players are used to playing.

"It's up to us to make sure we're at our level. A trap? I don't know, but there are additional difficulties, yes."

 

Although Bosnia-Herzegovina and Finland drew, meaning France lost no ground in midweek, a response is required following their frustrating outing in Paris.

Les Bleus had 63 per cent of the possession and 18 shots but only three on target, including Antoine Griezmann's spectacular opener.

Ukraine mustered a meagre three attempts, one of which decisively deflected in off Presnel Kimpembe for an own goal.

"Even with a better result, we would have had the same obligation [in Astana] against an opponent who has nothing to lose," Deschamps said.

"It's up to us to do the job, and more than pressure, we have an obligation to get a result.

"The pressure was greater in the Euro qualifiers, when we went to Andorra just after our defeat in Turkey, with the same specificity of the synthetic pitch.

"On what they have done in recent matches, Kazakhstan are solid and concede few goals. It's never simple anyway."

Meanwhile, captain Hugo Lloris highlighted the potential positives of playing on a synthetic pitch for a France side who trailed only Spain in passes (7,360), successful passes (6,571) and average possession (72 per cent) in Euro 2020 qualifying.

"It promotes the short passing game," he said. "We are going to try to get our bearings as best as we can in the training later [on Saturday].

"And tomorrow [Sunday] we'll try to play and have the maximum of fun.

"We expect a match like against Ukraine, to have the ball in front of a low block. We must put intensity in our passes, in our running.

"The use of the ball will be so important, so to adapt to the synthetic pitch will be very important for tomorrow."

England manager Gareth Southgate insists he has never doubted the quality of Luke Shaw.

Manchester United left-back Shaw is expected to make his first England appearance in two-and-a-half years away to Albania in World Cup qualifying on Sunday.

Shaw only has eight caps and has not played for England since a Nations League match against Spain in September 2018.

He has excelled for United at club level this season and has been rewarded with a place in the England squad, which Southgate says is thoroughly deserved.

"Luke played in the first Under-21 game I took charge of – John Stones played right back in fact!" Southgate said ahead of the match with Albania in Tirana.

"There's never been any doubt in our mind about Luke's quality. 

"He’s obviously suffered from injuries and had to withdraw from a few squads. But it has been great to see him playing on the front foot as a full-back both with and without the ball.

"He has been on the front foot with his defending and really ambitious with his attacking and I think that's important. 

"He looks like he is physically in a good condition to be able to drive forward he has got excellent quality with the ball.

"It’s a good moment for him. I've seen somebody who has just delighted to be here, enjoying his football and playing with confidence. 

"First and foremost, Luke is a good defender and that's important for us. We have to keep clean sheets. He certainly seems to have a smile on his face."

Ben Chilwell started at left wing-back in the 5-0 home win over San Marino on Thursday and said after the match the competition between him and Shaw would benefit England ahead of Euro 2020.

He made the most of his opportunity, impressing to create five chances – only Mason Mount (8) had more - and set up the opening goal for James Ward-Prowse.

However, Shaw also has a strong case to start.

The 52 chances created in the Premier League this season by Shaw are more than any other defender in England's top flight and far in excess of Chilwell's 21.

Shaw has five assists to Chilwell's four, with his solitary goal in the recent Manchester derby victory set against two for the Chelsea defender.

Chilwell (79) has attempted more crosses than Shaw (67) but fewer have been successful – 11 compared to 18.

Shaw has attempted 39 dribbles and his 21 completed are two more than Chilwell has attempted overall.

In terms of tackles and interceptions, they are fairly evenly matched, with Shaw up 36-32 on the former metric, while the latter falls 19-15 in Chilwell's favour.

United captain Harry Maguire is looking forward to playing alongside Shaw at international level.

Maguire said: "I'm really pleased for Luke - it is a thoroughly deserved call-up. 

"He's had a great season. He’s creating a lot of chances for us at club level. Hopefully he can bring that to international level."

England will face Albania exactly 20 years since winning the last meeting 3-1 in Tirana in March 2001 through goals from Michael Owen, Paul Scholes and Andrew Cole during qualifying for the 2002 World Cup.

They have lost just two of their last 29 away matches in World Cup qualifying campaigns (W19 D8), with their last defeat coming to Ukraine back in 2009.

England are scoring regularly under Southgate, having netted 42 goals in their last nine qualifiers for major tournaments (W8 L1).

They have scored five or more goals in six of those games under Southgate. The only other Three Lions boss to see England score 5+ goals in as many qualifiers was Bobby Robson (also six).

Nick Pope is set to retain his place in goal for England and could become the first goalkeeper ever to keep a clean sheet in each of his first six international appearances for the country.

Virgil van Dijk will ultimately make the decision on his participation at the upcoming Euros, according to his Netherlands defensive partner Matthijs de Ligt.

Liverpool star Van Dijk has been out since October, with the centre-back having sustained a serious knee injury after a challenge from Everton and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Jurgen Klopp has consistently stressed caution over the return of Van Dijk, who stepped up his rehabilitation at a facility in Dubai before heading back to Merseyside.

It remains to be seen whether the 29-year-old will be fit to play again before the season is out, and as such his participation in the Euros is doubtful.

Netherlands boss Frank de Boer claimed in the build-up to Wednesday's defeat to Turkey that Van Dijk had another eight weeks left on his recovery, with the Oranje coach claiming he was not relying on the former Southampton and Celtic man to return in time for the tournament.

De Ligt, however, was less pessimistic, with the Juventus defender revealing Van Dijk is in good spirits, and will return when he feels the time is right.

"We had a meeting yesterday, [Van Dijk] was there too," De Ligt said on Friday.

"He looked very good, he seemed very fresh and free. Of course, I don't know how he feels physically, he doesn't really want to put any pressure on himself either.

"He has a clear mind and looks at it day by day. He is calm and wants to see where he's at, at moment the Euros are starting. I think it's important for him to be calm, and to be able to recuperate from his injury without any pressure from us or from the country.

"He will decide if he will be at the Euros. If he's there, he’s there. If he's not there, other guys will have to fill his shoes. But yesterday he looked well."

With Inter's Stefan de Vrij having contracted coronavirus, De Ligt's former Ajax team-mate Daley Blind partnered the 21-year-old in defence against Turkey.

It was neither of the duo's finest performances, with Burak Yilmaz scoring a hat-trick in a 4-2 win for Netherlands' World Cup qualification rivals.

Asked who he would prefer to have next to him should Van Dijk fail to make the Euros, De Ligt replied: "That's a question that’s not really relevant to me.

"In the end, it's the manager who decides who plays, what we need. In possession, Daley is one of the best defenders I have ever played with.

"Stefan plays in Italy, is more physical and is stronger than Daley. So it might also depend on our opponents. We also have Nathan Ake and other guys. There are enough options.

"I might not even be playing. That's something the manager decides, that depends on the game. We simply have to respect the manager's decisions."

Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka have been ruled out of England's World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Poland.

Manchester United forward Rashford and versatile Arsenal teenager Saka missed England's opening 5-0 Group I defeat of San Marino at Wembley on Thursday.

Rashford and Saka will also play no part against Albania in Tirana on Sunday and a home clash with Poland next Wednesday due to foot and hamstring injuries respectively.

A Football Association statement said: "Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka will play no part in England's forthcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

"Rashford reported to St. George's Park with an injury that ruled him out of the 5-0 win against San Marino and, following further assessment, it has been decided he will continue his rehabilitation with Manchester United.

"Saka had remained at Arsenal for further assessment on an ongoing issue with the hope of joining up with the Three Lions but will now not be available for the fixtures against Albania and Poland."

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored twice against San Marino, while James Ward-Prowse, Raheem Sterling and debutant Ollie Watkins were also on target as England started their bid to qualify for the 2022 tournament in Qatar with a dominant victory.

Spain head coach Luis Enrique clarified that Sergio Ramos' half-time substitution had nothing to do with injury, instead managing his minutes ahead of two more 2022 World Cup qualifiers as he allayed concerns.

Real Madrid and Spain captain Ramos was replaced at the interval by Inigo Martinez, who gave away the penalty in Spain's surprise 1-1 draw with Greece in Granada on Thursday.

Ramos missed two months of club football with a knee injury, the 34-year-old star defender returning earlier this month for games against Elche and Atalanta before missing Madrid's LaLiga clash with Celta Vigo on Saturday due to a shin issue.

​"Sergio Ramos is perfectly fine," Luis Enrique said post-game. "He didn’t play the last game with his club due to a blow.

"We had already decided in advance that he would only play the first half and he is perfectly fine.

"He is available for the following games."

Ramos, who has a record 179 international caps, is in the mix for Spain's upcoming qualifiers away to Georgia on Sunday and Kosovo on Wednesday.

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