Robert Moreno insists he has "a clear conscience" after his stint as Spain head coach ended with Luis Enrique's return to the role, although he acknowledged "a bittersweet feeling".

Then assistant Moreno stepped into the breach earlier this year when Luis Enrique resigned as his young daughter Xana battled bone cancer. She died in August.

Former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique returned this week, however, replacing Moreno, who had worked alongside him in a number of previous positions.

Moreno has not reverted to his role as assistant amid reports the two have fallen out, although he said in a statement on Wednesday he would not assess his final days as Spain boss, avoiding "a spiral of reproaches and justifications for each of the parties".

But the 42-year-old did thank Luis Enrique, his staff, the RFEF and the media, while also apologising for not addressing reporters after his final match in charge on Monday.

He added in the statement: "I have a clear conscience. It is impossible to please everyone, but I sincerely tell you that I respect all and all opinions.

"I have always maintained that I am a man of my word and would not be an obstacle in the event that Luis Enrique decided to return.

"I have done so even though it has meant my departure. I wish him well because his joys will be ours."

Referring to the "extreme situation" in Luis Enrique's personal life that led to him taking charge, Moreno said he wished he had never been required to become coach.

He concluded: "My experience as an absolute coach began and ended in the same way, with a bittersweet feeling.

"I have to look forward and face new challenges as a coach in my passion, football. I am prepared to face the challenge of leading new projects."

Thomas Delaney has suffered torn ligaments in his right ankle and will be out of action until January.

Borussia Dortmund confirmed the nature of the 28-year-old's injury on Wednesday after he returned from international duty.

Midfielder Delaney was substituted 13 minutes into Denmark's crucial Euro 2020 qualifier against Republic of Ireland on Monday, unable to assist his country as they secured a 1-1 draw to qualify for the finals.

Delaney has played six times in the Bundesliga this season, having appeared 30 times last term following his move from Werder Bremen.

Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne labelled Euro 2020 a "fake competition" and claimed the draw format is a sign of football becoming more of a business than a sport.

Roberto Martinez's side won all 10 qualifiers to finish top of Group I and qualify automatically for next year's finals, which will be staged in 12 different cities across Europe.

The group draw will take place on November 30 but, due to seedings and rules involving host nations, Belgium already know they will be drawn into Group B with Russia and Denmark.

Belgium can start planning for the expansive tournament, but Manchester City star De Bruyne is unhappy with the format.

"It's a shame," he told VTM Nieuws after scoring twice in Tuesday's 6-1 win over Cyprus.

"For me, this feels like a fake competition. Football has become more and more [like] a business."

De Bruyne featured in six of Belgium's qualifiers, scoring four times and assisting a further six goals.

Stefan Savic has suffered a setback as he bids to return from a hamstring injury.

The Atletico Madrid centre-back has been out of action since Montenegro's 0-0 draw against Bulgaria in Euro 2020 qualifying on October 11.

Atleti announced Savic, who was substituted after 39 minutes of that match, had suffered a hamstring issue but did not offer an estimated recovery time.

And the club announced on Wednesday the defender "suffered a relapse of the grade II injury".

Savic has undergone tests and, according to Atleti's short statement, "is pending response to treatment".

Roberto Martinez believes Belgium deserve to win Euro 2020 but acknowledges that will count for little if they do not perform at the finals.

Belgium completed their qualification campaign on Tuesday, thrashing Cyprus 6-1 to end with 10 wins from 10 in Group I, scoring 40 goals in the process.

Martinez has already seen enough to suggest Belgium are worthy of a maiden major international title, yet he knows there is plenty of work to do.

"Whether we can win the European Championship, that is something that we have in our hands," head coach Martinez said. "We need to get even better and then we see if we can play another great tournament.

"We have set the standard at the World Cup [finishing third] and we are continuing to develop into a team with a great deal of togetherness. And the fans are also important.

"We now have seven months to become as good as possible. This team deserves to win the European Championship but, in football, it's not that simple."

Reflecting on qualifying, he added: "I think everyone just worked really well this year. The players know what to do and they do it with an incredible focus.

"Scoring six times and then playing again in this way is very good."

Kevin De Bruyne, who scored twice in a playmaking masterclass against Cyprus, added: "It's always beautiful. Nobody has given it to us.

"Once you start the qualification, you have to go match by match and we did. It's very nice to finally get there [with 10 wins]."

Michael O'Neill insisted Northern Ireland's 6-1 thrashing by Germany on Tuesday will have "no bearing" on their Euro 2020 play-off.

Northern Ireland conceded six times in a qualifying match for the first time since 1949 (when they were defeated 9-2 by England) in what was a sobering loss to Joachim Low's team.

Serge Gnabry starred with a hat-trick for Germany, whose place at next year's showpiece tournament was already secured, with Leon Goretzka netting twice before Julian Brandt's injury-time goal.

O'Neill's side, who finished third in Group C, now find themselves in a one-legged play-off semi-final away to Bosnia-Herzegovina in March, with the winner to face either the Republic of Ireland or Slovakia.

"This game will have no bearing on the play-offs whatsoever," said O'Neill.

"Ultimately we were punished by the quality of the opposition. We are asking League One players to come and play against Champions League players."

It was the biggest competitive loss of his eight-year tenure for O'Neill, who will be in charge for the play-offs despite his appointment at Championship outfit Stoke City.

"You never want to get beaten 6-1 and it was tough in the second half particularly," he added.

O'Neill's team were defeated on both occasions by Bosnia-Herzegovina when the sides met in the Nations League last year, however the boss remains optimistic they can reach a second successive Euros.

"When the Bosnia game comes around in March we have to aim to have our key players fit," he said.

"We know what to expect in terms of the intimidation and it's a tight ground, but we will go into that game knowing that we can win."

O'Neill described Gnabry as "un-defendable" and the Bayern Munich player, who now has 14 goals for club and country this season, admitted he is revelling in his role as a striker having previously played as a winger.

"I have to try to give my best every game," said Gnabry, whose 13 goals in as many Germany games has only been bettered by the legendary Gerd Muller. 

"I am playing as a striker here, which I have enjoyed a lot. Scoring goals came easy to me as a youth player and it continues to work out here for me as well."

Low was pleased to see his team, who finished ahead of Netherlands as group winners and will now play their Euro 2020 group games in Munich, continue to press for more goals.

He said: "We enjoyed it very much. We have played a very consequential game. Even when we were up by two or three goals, we continued attacking. We can be very pleased.

"We did not get nervous after going behind, I have liked what I have seen very much. We were focused for the full 90 minutes and this makes me positive looking forward."

Ronald Koeman said Georginio Wijnaldum feels "so happy with this Dutch team" after his Netherlands side beat Estonia 5-0 without any signs of the racism that blighted a league game in the country two days earlier.

Excelsior winger Ahmad Mendes Moreira was subjected to alleged racist chanting during last week's 3-3 draw against Den Bosch in Eerste Divisie, prompting Wijnaldum to speak out about the problem of racism in football ahead of the final Netherlands Euro 2020 qualifying match at Johan Cruijff ArenA.

Wijnaldum went on to be the game's star player, netting the opening goal and going on to score two more, while Nathan Ake and Myron Boadu also got on the score sheet in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

Netherlands head coach Koeman revealed Wijnaldum was in high spirits after the match, and not just because of his goals.

"Gini just said something about it in the dressing room during our closing words with each other," Koeman told Dutch broadcaster NOS.

"He said he feels so happy with this Dutch team, where this problem does not occur.

"It is one team. It's nice to see that again."

Koeman made seven changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Northern Ireland three days earlier but still saw his players deliver a cohesive, confident performance.

While the likes of Ake, Wijnaldum, Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt were outstanding against Estonia, Koeman said he will utilise friendly matches in March to finalise his squad selections for Euro 2020.

"It would be very strange if everything was clear against Estonia in one evening," said Koeman. "We still have six months.

"We have a lot of young players who will be half a year later. It will be a fight. strong possible selection.

"You use March for points of discussion within the selection. I will therefore let many players play.

"We then play two international matches and have consciously opted for Thursday and Sunday. We will not play with the same team twice."

A delighted Ryan Giggs hailed one of the best days of his life after Wales secured a place at Euro 2020 with a 2-0 win over Hungary.

Aaron Ramsey was the hero in Cardiff, scoring a goal in each half as Wales clinched the second qualifying spot behind Croatia in Group E – earning a shot at matching their Euro 2016 exploits following a semi-final run.

An uneven start to his first campaign in charge meant Giggs' men needed to win both of their closing matches to progress.

Victory in Azerbaijan over the weekend before success before their fervent home support saw them come good when it mattered.

"It's doesn't get any better," Wales manager Giggs told Sky Sports. "It's amazing. From where we were in the summer with those two defeats [away to Croatia and Hungary], credit to the lads the way they've come back.

"They've show grit, determination and quality. It's one of the best days of my life."

Ramsey's injury problems meant the Juventus star was making his first start of qualification on Tuesday.

"He's just showed that quality, that class," Giggs said. "The finishes… we missed him, but better late than never, I suppose."

Having never managed to represent Wales at a major tournament as a player, Manchester United great Giggs will revel in leading his country on such a grand stage.

"To be honest I haven't really thought about that," he added, referencing those playing disappointments.

"It's one of the greatest days of my life. There was a lot of hard work put in. Not only am I blessed with a good set of players but also the best staff I could ask for.

"The atmosphere every time we play in Cardiff… the fans are part of it. I was watching it in 2016 – you could tell the fans loved it then and they'll love this even more."

Gareth Bale risked incurring the wrath of Real Madrid with his celebration of Wales' Euro 2020 qualification.

Wales – semi-finalists at Euro 2016 – booked their ticket to next year's European Championship with a 2-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday.

Aaron Ramsey's double in Cardiff ensured Wales leapfrogged Hungary and clinched the second automatic qualifying spot in Group E.

Bale and his team-mates celebratedly wildly post-game, with the former Tottenham talisman particularly catching the eye.

Tipped to leave Madrid and criticised for his priorities amid his love for golf, Wales fans have adopted the chant, "Wales, golf, Madrid", which has been heard during the international break.

And on Tuesday, Bale was seen celebrating in front of a Wales flag with the words: "WALES. GOLF. MADRID... IN THAT ORDER".

Toby Alderweireld is sure Tottenham will appoint a "big" manager after the Premier League club elected to relieve Mauricio Pochettino of his post.

Just six months after reaching the Champions League final, Spurs sit 14th in the Premier League following a dismal start to the campaign, winning just three games.

Tottenham are just a win away from the top six, but are 11 points adrift of the Champions League places with 12 matches played.

Jose Mourinho has emerged as a front-runner to take over and Spurs defender Alderweireld – whose relationship with Pochettino was reportedly strained – is confident Tottenham will have a new manager in place quickly, and one with the credentials to take charge of a club aiming to compete on both the domestic and European fronts.

"Spurs are a big club, there will be a big manager for us. Hopefully we know quickly," Alderweireld told Sky Sports on Tuesday, after playing in Belgium's 6-1 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Cyprus.

"It is a difficult situation, I don't know really the right thing to say. It needs a couple of days to sink in.

"I'm 30, and it'll be the first time in my career there's been a change of manager [at my team] so it'll be strange for me. I can't say how it feels. We have to work hard and I think there will be a new manager quickly.

"We have to stay together, change things as quickly as possible together. The strength of our team is the work rate – that won't be changing."

While Alderweireld has been linked with a move away from Spurs in recent seasons, he is proud of what the team achieved under Pochettino.

"I am surprised," Alderweireld said.

"We came a long way together, with a lot of players, achieved big things, you can see from where we've come from before my time at Spurs, we achieved a lot of things together and I think he took the club to the next level."

Gareth Bale ribbed Aaron Ramsey over his fitness record after the Juventus man fired Wales to the Euro 2020 finals with a brace in the 2-0 win over Hungary.

Needing victory to progress as automatic qualifiers from Group E at Hungary's expense, Ramsey marked his first start of an injury-ruined campaign with a headed opener from Bale's 15th-minute cross.

The former Arsenal favourite was on the mark again early in the second half as Wales made it back-to-back European Championship qualifications.

"It’s about time he contributed, isn't it?" Bale told Sky Sports.

"Obviously he's a world-class player, you like to have him back. He showed again what a great player he is, scoring the goals that helped us through."

Wales were the surprise package of Euro 2016, with Ramsey and Bale to the fore as they reached the semi-finals.

Now both senior members in an increasingly youthful squad under Ryan Giggs, Ramsey was desperate to secure another outing on the biggest stage.

"We had the best time of our lives in France," he told Sky Sports. "We missed out on the [2018] World Cup, so it was a big effort.

"I missed a lot of this campaign but it's all worthwhile. Chipping in with a couple of goals is amazing.

"It means everything. We inspired a nation last time out. We wanted to do it again.

"There are some players here who haven’t experienced this. We wanted to give them a taste of it as well. We've got a great squad, a lot of great players coming through."

Speaking alongside Bale, Ramsey added: "There's still some life left in our legs yet. We're enjoying it. We'll enjoy tonight now as well."

Serge Gnabry scored a hat-trick as Germany rallied to humble Northern Ireland 6-1 in Euro 2020 qualifying and secure top spot in Group C.

Michael Smith had given Northern Ireland a shock early lead on Tuesday, however Germany hit back in emphatic fashion with Leon Goretzka also grabbing a brace for the hosts before Julian Brandt's injury-time strike.

Gnabry's treble took his tally for 2019-20 to 14 goals for club and country as his fine start to the campaign continued with another clinical display. 

Having finished third in the group, Northern Ireland - on whom the result was harsh - must now wait for Friday's draw to discover who they will face in the Euro 2020 qualifying play-offs.

Germany were stunned in the seventh minute when Toni Kroos could only head George Saville's cross to the edge of his own area and Smith unleashed a stunning low strike into the bottom-left corner beyond the reach of Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Germany were almost level five minutes later after Ilkay Gundogan struck the post and soon they had their goal as Gnabry controlled Jonas Hector's cross from the left before swivelling and firing clinically into the far corner from 12 yards out.

Hector was again the provider two minutes before the interval as Germany turned the contest on its head. 

His cross somehow evaded a crowd of bodies before the onrushing Goretzka made sufficient contact to send the ball agonisingly past Northern Ireland goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell and in off the post.

Within two minutes of the restart, Germany had a third as Lukas Klostermann found Gnabry, who again rifled home in clinical fashion.

Gnabry was celebrating his hat-trick just on the hour when he held off Tom Flanagan before drilling a low shot inside the far post. 

Germany added further gloss, with Goretzka firing in from the edge of the area in the 72nd minute before Brandt struck from the left side of the box in added time.

 

What does it mean? Germany starting to look their old selves

For Germany, it is starting to look a case of 'Crisis? What crisis?'. Seven wins from a possible eight and top spot in a group including Netherlands, and things appear to be starting to click together again for Joachim Low and his team after last year's World Cup disappointment. There was no shame in this defeat for Northern Ireland. They have every reason to go into the play-offs in buoyant mood after giving the big boys a run for their money.

Gnabry continues deadly form 

In his previous outing against British opponents – when club Bayern Munich faced Tottenham in the Champions League last month – Gnabry scored four times. On this occasion it was three. The former Arsenal man is a player reborn in the Bundesliga and looks one of Europe's hottest properties right now.

Smith's brilliant strike a silver lining for Irish

This was a night the Hearts defender will never forget after scoring the goal which put his team ahead against one of Europe's giants. What a goal it was as he demonstrated textbook technique to send a rasping low drive beyond Germany goalkeeper Ter Stegen. 

What's next?

The play-offs await Northern Ireland in March – they will discover their opponents in Friday's draw in Nyon. Boss Michael O'Neill will be in charge for those matches despite his appointment at Championship outfit Stoke City, yet the search for his successor begins now for the Irish Football Association (IFA). With their place already booked, Germany can now look forward to next year's showpiece tournament.

Scotland capped off their Euro 2020 qualifying Group I campaign with a 3-1 win over Kazakhstan as John McGinn and Steven Naismith completed a second-half comeback at Hampden Park.

A drab first-half display saw Scotland - who have been guaranteed a play-off place throughout qualification thanks to their performances in the UEFA Nations League - fall behind to Baktiyor Zainutdinov's 34th-minute stunner.

However, McGinn's deflected free-kick restored parity within three minutes of the restart and the turnaround was complete when captain Naismith bundled home.

A third straight win was sealed in stoppage time - McGinn sweeping home from a low cross to add gloss to a fine second-half display from Steve Clarke's side.

Clarke made no changes from the side that claimed a 2-1 win over Cyprus on Saturday, but despite dominating possession through the first half, a low effort from Ryan Christie was the closest the hosts came to an opener.

Kazakhstan showed no such wastefulness - Zainutdinov picking out the top-left corner with a sensational, pinpoint strike that left David Marshall rooted to the spot.

Scotland came out with renewed vigour after the interval, though, and were swiftly on level terms when McGinn's powerful free-kick took a wicked deflection off Bauyrzhan Islamkhan.

James Forrest seemed set to double Scotland's tally three minutes later, only to slice wide, before Naismith blazed a close-range effort over.

Naismith made up for his miss in the 64th minute, however, taking advantage of sloppy defending from Aleksandr Marochkin to turn home a deflected cross with his shoulder.

McGinn then had the final say, getting on the end of Greg Taylor's delivery to wrap up a comfortable triumph.

What does it mean? Scotland on the up heading into play-offs

It has been a disappointing campaign for Scotland, but Clarke's side do have the chance to qualify via the play-offs and, after four successive defeats, they have now won their last three Group I matches to at least earn a lift in confidence.

More international joy for McGinn 

An ever-reliable performer in the heart of midfield, McGinn has enjoyed a fine run of form in a Scotland shirt and followed up his winner against Cyprus with another goal - albeit a fortuitous one - to haul the home side level.

The Aston Villa man, who netted a hat-trick against San Marino in October, also scored late on and now has six goals in his last three Scotland appearances.

Marochkin mistake gifts Scotland the points

Naismith's ability to sniff out a chance was evidenced by Scotland's second goal, but it was an opportunity he should not have been afforded. Dmytro Nepogodov's goalkeeping was highly unconvincing, but Marochkin should have done far better with his attempted clearance, and was too easily outmuscled by the Hearts forward.

What's next?

Scotland will now await Friday's play-off draw, when they will find out their opponents for March's matches.

Belgium completed a dominant Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 10th win in 10, crushing Cyprus 6-1 in Brussels on Tuesday.

Roberto Martinez's Red Devils signed off from Group I in real style as Kevin De Bruyne and Christian Benteke both scored twice, albeit only after Cyprus had improbably led through Nikolas Ioannou.

The Belgian response was swift, Benteke and Yannick Carrasco scoring as De Bruyne bagged a brace before the break.

An own goal and Benteke's second following the restart saw the World Cup semi-finalists end qualifying on a remarkable total of 40 goals, more than any other side in Europe.

Hans Vanaken should have opened the scoring for Belgium after 10 minutes but incredibly missed the target from six yards following Thorgan Hazard's teasing low cross.

The hosts were swiftly punished, too, as Ioannou's left boot proved far more clinical, with a low finish sent beyond Simon Mignolet.

Belgium were behind for less than two minutes, though. Benteke failed to make contact with De Bruyne's right-wing cross but scrambled to prod in when Carrasco returned the ball from the left.

A string of Neophytos Michael saves initially kept Belgium at bay as they chased another, yet the goalkeeper gifted De Bruyne a goal 10 minutes before half-time, comically fumbling a bobbling volley into the net.

De Bruyne had his second before the break, firing in with the aid of a slight deflection, before Carrasco volleyed through Michael's legs from Hazard's centre.

It was more of the same after half-time as Michael spilled De Bruyne's shot and directed Carrasco's rebound onto the post, only to see Kypros Christoforou prod in a tame own goal moments later.

Yari Verschaeren poked a one-on-one tamely wide, but Benteke - completely out of sorts in the Premier League - was clinical when similarly sent through, dispatching the chance with his left foot.

Benteke looked destined for a hat-trick until he dallied with an open goal, allowing Christoforou to recover, with the Red Devils settling for six.

What does it mean? Belgium an attacking force to fear

Belgium have seen front men Romelu Lukaku, Benteke and Michy Batshuayi each have issues with form at club level during this campaign, while chief creator De Bruyne has dealt with an injury. To still end with such a tally in the goals-for column is staggering. The opponents have been modest and greater tests are to come, but the Red Devils will expect to outscore anyone.

De Bruyne a class above

Eden Hazard was similarly involved in much of Belgium's best work, but this was a De Bruyne masterclass. He cut through the Cyprus defence time and again, playing every type of pass to tee up team-mates. The Manchester City man still found time for a pair of goals and looks in fine nick heading into a busy club period.

Unhelpful contributions

De Bruyne and Eden Hazard were capable of beating Cyprus without any help but gleefully accepted the unorthodox assistance that came their way. Michael made an awful mess of De Bruyne's shot when the visitors looked like reaching half-time still level, sparking a collapse.

What's next?

Martinez will settle in to assess club action over the coming months, hoping De Bruyne and his other key players come through unscathed ahead of Euro 2020. Cyprus will merely be spectators when the tournament kicks off, perhaps grateful to avoid another meeting.

Georginio Wijnaldum scored a hat-trick as Netherlands bounced back from a disappointing draw with Northern Ireland by beating Estonia 5-0 in Amsterdam.

The goalless draw in Belfast three days earlier allowed Germany to leapfrog Netherlands into top spot in Euro 2020 qualifying group C, and while the win over Estonia did not return Ronald Koeman's side to the summit it did help restore some pride.

Wijnaldum notched either side of an effort from Nathan Ake and completed his treble with a superb solo effort, before Myron Boadu scored his first senior international goal to complete the rout.

With Estonia certain to finish bottom of the group and the hosts already sure of their place at Euro 2020 this was never going to be a classic, but Koeman made seven changes to his side and still enjoyed a performance full of creative endeavour.

 

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