Roberto Martinez paid tribute to Romelu Lukaku following his two-goal display in Belgium's 3-0 win over Scotland.

Belgium continued their 100 per cent start to Euro 2020 qualifying with Tuesday's victory, keeping themselves top of Group I, three points ahead of Russia.

Lukaku opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time, sending a thumping header in from six yards, before doubling his tally after the interval tapping in a rebound after Kevin De Bruyne had an effort saved.

Those goals took Lukaku to 25 goals from his past 21 Belgium matches, though were it not for a couple of bad misses, he might have scored four on the day.

Martinez felt the supporters showed their appreciation for him regardless, but the head coach wants the much-maligned Manchester United forward to take advantage of his hard work even more often.

"I appreciated the love fans have shown towards this national team and Romelu in particular," he told reporters. "He is a boy who has been very successful these last three seasons. He creates opportunities and scores a lot.

"I see him very disciplined, and during this international break he has displayed a lot of desire. Sometimes, I'm sad when I see that Romelu does not take advantage of his play on the pitch."

De Bruyne was the standout performer in the match, though Martinez was keen to share the praise around.

"It's not a single player match, everyone contributed to this victory," he said. "Kevin did indeed have a big influence, he was both active and patient.

"But Eden Hazard was also very important, taking responsibility, while Lukaku made the net shake twice.

"When I see how Thorgan Hazard is progressing - he was not even in the 23 at the beginning of my term - how Thomas Meunier held 90 minutes after Timothy Castagne's match, I think we have plenty of options, and that's fine.

"Do not forget the hard work of the three central defenders, who prevented Scotland from scoring against us."

The match brought a first defeat as Scotland boss for Steve Clarke, but overall, he was left satisfied with what he saw from his side in his debut international get together.

"My impression is that I saw over the 10 days that I've got a really good group of players who are really committed to their country," Clarke said. "They want to get better and they want to improve.

"We were competitive in that game against the best team in the world, ranked number one, so there's a lot of positives, but obviously we're professionals and we don't like to lose the game."

Romelu Lukaku continued his fine international form with a double as Belgium eased to a 3-0 win over Scotland in Euro 2020 qualifying.

Belgium have now won four out of four matches in Group I after a victory in Brussels on Tuesday that rarely looked in doubt.

Manchester United forward Lukaku scored once in each half to make it 25 international goals in his last 21 appearances and in truth he should quite conceivably have finished with four or five to his name.

Kevin De Bruyne sealed the win with a 20-yard strike in stoppage time as Steve Clarke suffered his first defeat as Scotland manager and his side now sit three points behind second-placed Russia.

Belgium dominated a first half that saw the visitors squander their only chance through Oliver Burke and lose Stuart Armstrong to injury, with away goalkeeper David Marshall saving well from De Bruyne early on.

Another effort from De Bruyne was wonderfully tipped away from the top corner by Marshall, before the Manchester City star laid on a great close-range chance for Lukaku that the striker somehow managed to block with his own foot.

But Lukaku made up for that one minute into stoppage time, rising above Scott McKenna to thump in a header from six yards after Eden Hazard had linked up with his brother Thorgan and floated in a clever cross.

Lukaku could not convert a superb headed chance early in the second half, while De Bruyne's free-kick was saved by Marshall.

But the powerhouse striker got his second after 57 minutes, tapping in a rebound after Marshall tipped away an effort from De Bruyne, who Scotland claimed was offside in the build-up.

Lukaku twice fired just wide as he sought a hat-trick, while Thibaut Courtois confirmed his clean sheet with a key late save from McKenna before De Bruyne netted after a neat exchange with substitute Dries Mertens to give the scoreline a more realistic look.



What does it mean? Belgium in control

Belgium have won four straight matches in qualifying and are producing fluent, attacking performances with the likes of De Bruyne and Hazard instrumental. Displays like this make it look very unlikely they will be prevented from claiming a smooth passage to the Euros.


Hazard magnificent ahead of Real Madrid arrival

Real Madrid fans would have loved what they saw from in-form Hazard, who created seven chances and was a constant threat to end his season on a high.


Scotland need more from McTominay

Scotland do not have many players playing for major clubs, so they need more from those who do like United's Scott McTominay, who conceded four fouls, did not create a single chance for his team-mates nor see much of the ball.


What's next?

Belgium have an easier assignment on September 6 when they travel to San Marino, which is when Scotland host Russia in a vital contest for the race to finish second.

Steve Clarke believes there were plenty of positives for Scotland to take after Oliver Burke's late winner against Cyrpus.

Clarke looked to be heading for a lacklustre draw in his first match in charge of Scotland, with Ioannis Kousoulos' 87th-minute header having cancelled out a stunning strike from Andrew Robertson.

But substitute Burke came to the rescue two minutes later to lift Scotland onto six points in Euro 2020 qualifying Group I.

Group favourites and leaders Belgium are up next for Clarke's side, who sit third, level on points with Russia after three games played.

And though he acknowledged that Scotland's play - which was at times sluggish and toothless - will not change until he has had more time with the team, Clarke is feeling buoyant ahead of Tuesday's trip to Belgium.

"The way we showed character to bounce back gives us good hope for the future," he told Sky Sports.

"I've only had seven training sessions, so it won't change overnight. I've given the lads a lot of information and I think some of them have taken it on too literally.

"It was a game we couldn't afford to lose and we handled that pressure.

"I thought we did okay. At 1-0, I thought we were comfortable but we switched off from a set play. It would have been easy to feel sorry for ourselves but the players showed great resilience and that's a good sign.

"I'm confident we have a group players who will certainly make it a difficult night for Belgium. A lot of things to be pleased about and a lot of things to work on."

Steve Clarke's Scotland tenure got off to a winning start as Oliver Burke's last-minute effort secured a dramatic 2-1 win over Cyprus in Saturday's Euro 2020 qualifier.

Clarke replaced Alex McLeish as Scotland manager in May, but he looked to be heading for a disappointing draw in his first game in charge when Ioannis Kousoulos scored with three minutes remaining.

Kousoulos' header cancelled out Andrew Robertson's stunning strike, which had put Scotland ahead just after the hour.

But parity was short lived, with substitute Burke tucking home at the second attempt after heading Ryan Fraser's cross against the woodwork.

Scotland are now third in Group I with six points from three matches, three adrift of leaders Belgium, while Cyprus are fourth in the pool.

 

Jamaica Reggae Girlz striker Kayla McCoy has been ruled out of taking part in the FIFA Women’s World Cup after sustaining an injury in a practice match against Scotland last week.

The 22-year-old McCoy, who is based in the United States where she represents the Houston Dash, joined the squad in September before being selected to the final 23-man squad last month.

The player, however, sustained an injury after replacing follow forward Khadijah Shaw as a late substitute in Jamaica’s 3-2 loss against Scotland.  Shaw also sustained an injury during the match. 

The duo was initially listed as day-to-day, but it appears the injury for McCoy is worse than initially believed.  An MRI scan taken on Monday showed the player had sustained damage to her ACL. 

The injury has been reported to be a partial tear of the ligament, recuperation from which can take anywhere between 3 and 6 months.  A replacement for the player is expected to be named shortly.  The Reggae Girlz have been drawn in a Group C alongside Brazil, Italy and Australia. 

The national team will make its World Cup debut against Brazil on Sunday at the Stade des Alpes, Grenoble.  The prognosis for Shaw is better as the player is expected to make a full recovery in time for the tournament.

 

 

 

Reggae Girlz forward Khadija Shaw suffered a sprained ankle during the Reggae Girlz 3-2 loss to Scotland on Tuesday and it remains unclear when she will return to action with the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup set to kick off in 12 days' time.

Jamaica are sweating on the health of their key player Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw, who suffered a leg injury during their 3-2 loss to Scotland at Hampden Park on Tuesday.

Reggae Girlz Head Coach Hue Menzies said his players have managed to put the weekend’s travel mishaps behind and are settling in nicely before Tuesday’s final World Cup warm-up match against a tough Scotland unit on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka recorded a timely one-day international victory ahead of the Cricket World Cup as they beat Scotland in a rain-affected contest to end a seven-month winless run in the format.

Since beating England in a dead rubber in Colombo last October, Sri Lanka had suffered 3-0 and 5-0 whitewashes to New Zealand and South Africa respectively before arriving in Scotland for a two-match series, with the first game abandoned last weekend.

The weather played a part again at the Grange on Tuesday, but the Sri Lankans were still able to record a morale-boosting 35-run victory on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

Their top three - Avishka Fernando (74), captain Dimuth Karunaratne (77) and Kusal Mendis (66) - were all able to record half-centuries as they made 322-8 before Scotland were bowled out for 199 chasing a revised target of 235, seamer Nuwan Pradeep taking 4-34.

Fernando, who made his maiden ODI half-century, and Karunaratne, who made his second - eight years after his first against the same opponent - put on 123 for the first wicket, though Sri Lanka's skipper survived three chances before reaching the milestone.

The tourists were 204-2 in the 34th over when Karunaratne was finally dismissed and despite Mendis' fine contribution and Lahiru Thirimanne's 44 not out, a flurry of middle-order wickets prevented the final total from being greater.

Scotland's reply was punctuated by the elements, though both Matthew Cross (55) and George Munsey (61) made half-centuries, and they lost their last seven wickets for just 46 runs having been forced off for 90 minutes due to rain.

Scotland have announced the appointment of Steve Clarke as their new head coach on a three-year deal. 

Clarke replaces Alex McLeish, who was sacked last month after a poor start to qualifying for Euro 2020 which included a humiliating 3-0 loss away to Kazakhstan.

The former West Brom boss was appointed by Kilmarnock in October 2017 and enjoyed an impressive first full season at Rugby Park last term, leading them to third spot in the Scottish Premiership and a place in the Europa League qualifying rounds.

Clarke won both the PFA Scotland and Scottish Football Writers' Association manager of the year awards for the 2018-19 campaign.

Scotland are assured of at least a play-off place in qualifying for next year's Euros, having won promotion from their Nations League group.

They are one of four teams level on three points in the race for the two automatic qualification spots in Group I. Clarke's first games in charge come in qualifiers at home to Cyprus on June 8 and away to Belgium three days later.

"It is an honour to be appointed Scotland national head coach and I will undertake those responsibilities with pride and commitment," said Clarke/ 

"I firmly believe we have a talented group of players who can achieve success on the international stage. I look forward to working with them and helping them to fulfil those ambitions.

"I appreciate the Scotland supporters have waited a long time for the national team to qualify for a major tournament. Now we have a Women's World Cup to look forward to in France this summer and it's my motivation to emulate the success of Shelley Kerr and her squad by leading us to Euro 2020.

"I believe we can qualify and look forward to that journey with the players and the fans, starting against Cyprus and Belgium next month."

Former Scotland international Tim Visser is to retire at the end of the season, Harlequins have confirmed.

Visser called time on his Test career 12 months ago having scored 14 tries in 33 appearances.

The 31-year-old wing has now opted to pursue opportunities away from rugby, ending a four-year stay with Premiership side Quins that saw him score 39 times in 66 matches.

"I'd like to thank everyone at Harlequins for the opportunity to be part of such a fantastic club. I've thoroughly enjoyed my time here," Visser told the club's official website. 

"I feel now is the time for me to move on to new challenges outside of rugby with my young family. I'm looking forward to trying and proving myself in a completely different career."

Netherlands-born Visser started his career with Newcastle Falcons before joining Edinburgh in 2010. He qualified to play for Scotland through residency in 2012.

Stuart Hogg believes Warren Gatland has earned a third stint as head coach of the British and Irish Lions.

Outgoing Wales head coach Gatland is reported to have agreed a deal to take charge of the Lions for the 2021 tour of South Africa.

Gatland masterminded a 2-1 victory in Australia in 2013 and a 1-1 draw with New Zealand two years ago.

Scotland full-back Hogg, who suffered a facial injury on the tour of New Zealand after also missing out on a first Lions Test in Australia, would welcome the reappointment of the wily 55-year-old.

"You only have to see the job that he and the rest of the coaching staff have done on the last two tours, he's been absolutely tremendous." Land Rover ambassador Hogg told Omnisport.

"The record he's got as a Lions head coach is superb. Not many teams have gone to New Zealand and done a job on them.

"He's been brilliant for the Lions, he knows what is right for everybody and I'm sure he'll get the lads going in the right direction."

Hogg will leave Glasgow Warriors to join Exeter Chiefs at the end of the Pro14 season and the 26-year-old is determined to feature in a first Lions Test in two years' time.

"From a personal point of view, obviously I was disappointed to miss out in the last tour with injury, but I'll certainly be trying to get on the next one," Hogg added.

"For me it will case of making sure I'm doing a job for Exeter first and foremost and then for Scotland if given the opportunities, but there is a hell of a lot of rugby to come before then."

 

- Stuart Hogg is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover understands and shares the values of rugby. Follow @LandRoverRugby

Gordon Strachan revealed he has been suffering from depression since comments he made regarding Adam Johnson and racism in football led to him being widely criticised and dropped as a pundit by Sky television.

The former Scotland and Celtic manager said he is "truly sorry" for the comments he made on Sky's 'The Debate' in April, when his conflation of the issues surrounding Johnson's potential return to football and racist abuse directed at players from the stands saw him chastised on social media.

Former Sunderland and England winger Johnson was released in March after serving three years in prison following a conviction of sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl.

On the programme, Strachan said: "If he [Johnson] goes on to the pitch and people start calling him names, have we got to do the same as it is to the racist situation?

"Is it all right to call him names now after doing his three years - have we got to allow that to happen?"

In an interview with The Times, Strachan opened up about the aftermath of the broadcast and said he has struggled to cope.

Strachan was not employed by Sky, but the broadcaster has opted not to use him as part of the panel on The Debate since the incident.

"After 47 years in the game I'm now having to try and justify myself," said the 62-year-old, who won the First Division title with Leeds United and the FA Cup with Manchester United during his time as a player.

"I don't want to be known for that clumsy mistake. It's heartbreaking. I'm truly sorry for the clumsiness of my words.

"I got persecuted, humiliated and embarrassed for something that was clumsy.

"I wouldn’t put my worst enemy through those three days. I didn't eat, couldn't sleep, couldn't speak to people.

"It affected my family. I still get it now. When I'm sitting on my own, it's 'woah'. I've been depressed."

Afghanistan beat Scotland by two runs via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method in a tight clash at The Grange.

Rahmat Shah's brilliant 113 ensured Afghanistan had just enough runs on the board at 269-3 when showers arrived in Friday's one-day international.

Scotland won the toss and captain Kyle Coetzer (79) anchored an innings lit up by Calum MacLeod's 100.

George Munsey's blistering 28 off 13, which included three boundaries and two sixes, helped fire Scotland to a total of 325-7 with Gulbadin Naib the pick of the Afghanistan bowlers, taking out three of Scotland's top four in his 3-72.

Afghanistan lost Hazratullah Zazai (14) cheaply to Brad Wheal but Rahmat's superb century, which featured 11 fours and two sixes, got his side in contention.

And a breezy 59 not out off 60 balls from Hashmatullah Shahidi, coupled with Asghar Afghan's unbeaten cameo of 22 from 18, ensured Afghanistan squeezed home by DLS when rain came.

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