De Bruyne scores for Belgium on 100th cap as Haaland nets Norway hat-trick

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Kevin De Bruyne scored on his 100th cap for Belgium and sent his country on their way to a 2-0 win over Montenegro in Brussels in the first of two friendlies before they head to the European Championship.

The Belgium captain stroked home a long-range shot a minute before half-time to hand his side the lead after Matija Sarkic, the Montenegro goalkeeper, was caught in no-man’s land after a defensive mix-up. It was a cruel blow to the English-born keeper, who had kept a quick-paced Belgium attack at bay for almost the entire half with a remarkable series of saves, most notably from Yannick Carrasco, who had four clear chances but was denied each time. Arsenal’s Leandro Trossard tucked away a penalty with the last kick of the game to double the scoreline.

De Bruyne’s teammate at Manchester City, Erling Haaland, scored a hat-trick as Norway beat Kosovo 3-0 in a home friendly. Neither side has qualified for Euro 2024.

France strolled to a comfortable 3-0 win over Luxembourg in a friendly in Metz, with Kylian Mbappé scoring days after his transfer to Real Madrid was confirmed. Randal Kolo Muani and Jonathan Clauss were also on the scoresheet.

Kolo Muani put France in front just before the break, heading in from a precise Mbappé pass, before Clauss’s thunderous strike from outside the box doubled the advantage in the 70th minute and Mbappé sealed the win with a low, first-time shot. France play Canada on Sunday in Bordeaux in their last warm-up match before Euro 2024. They then face Austria on 17 June before playing the Netherlands on 21 June and Poland four days later.

Christian Eriksen scored a stunning late winner to give Denmark a 2-1 victory over their rivals Sweden in a lively pre-Euro 2024 friendly at a sold-out Parken.

It took just over a minute for the home side to break the deadlock as Sweden’s defence was caught napping at the game’s first corner, and Eriksen found Pierre-Emile Højbjerg at the near post for an easy finish. The Swedes struck back quickly through Alexander Isak, who collected a blocked shot from Jens Cajuste and slammed it past Frederik Rønnow in the Danish goal seven minutes later.

Eriksen, who collapsed due to a cardiac arrest on the same pitch in Denmark’s Euro 2020 opener against Finland, pulled the strings throughout, and his curling, dipping strike in the 86th minute gave the Danes a well-deserved win.

Jon Dahl Tomasson, Sweden’s Danish coach, was inducted into the Danish football hall of fame before kick-off, and his side defended well but faltered in attack, with Isak and Dejan Kulusevski often crowded out by the Danish defence.

A delighted Eriksen was almost happier with the assist for the opening goal than he was with scoring the winner, having come in for some criticism for a string of poor set pieces in qualifying. “It was nice, and it was good that we scored from a dead ball, I think it created a bit of calm in our team,” he said.

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Denmark round off their Euro 2024 preparations with a home game against Norway on Saturday before travelling to Germany, where they will face Slovenia, England and Serbia in Group C.

Elsewhere, Mikel Oyarzabal came off the bench to score three times in the second half and help Spain to a 5-0 friendly victory over Andorra in their penultimate Euro 2024 warm-up.

Luis de la Fuente, the Spain manager, fielded a much-changed side but they dominated from the start and the Real Betis forward Ayoze Pérez gave the hosts the lead in the 24th minute.

Real Sociedad’s Oyarzabal, who was one of four substitutions at half-time, extended Spain’s lead in the 53rd minute with a tidy finish, scored another on a quick counter in the 66th and got his hat-trick in the 73rd when he fired home a rebound from inside the box. Ferran Torres wrapped a comprehensive victory eight minutes later.

Spain face Northern Ireland on Saturday in their final friendly before they start their Euro campaign on 15 June against Croatia in Group B. They will also take on Italy and Albania.


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