Cristiano Ronaldo scored a late winner for Portugal on his 200th apperance for his country in the Euro 2024 qualifier. Erling Haaland scored twice in Norway’s win over Cyprus.
France’s 2018 Fifa World Cup winner N’Golo Kante has signed for Saudi club Al Ittihadto join compatriot Karim Benzema.
Meanwhile in tennis, Alexander Zverev and Carlos Alcaraz managed to earn wins in their opening matches in Wimbledon warm-up events, as did Aryna Sabalenka and Jelena Ostapenko.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for June 21, 2023:
Ronaldo nets on 200th Portugal appearance
Cristiano Ronaldo marked his 200th international appearance with the winner as Portugal beat Iceland 1-0 in Euro 2024 qualifying on Tuesday, while Erling Haaland netted twice for Norway in their 3-1 win over Cyprus.
Elsewhere, Belgium brushed aside the Thibaut Courtois captaincy row by seeing off Estonia thanks to a Romelu Lukaku double in Tallinn and Moldova came from two goals down to stun Poland.
Portugal appeared to be heading towards a drab goalless draw in Reykjavik until Willum Thor Willumsson was sent off late on.
Ronaldo struggled for much of the match but repaid coach Roberto Martinez’s faith by slotting home from Goncalo Inacio’s knock-down in the 89th minute.
“It was a nice script (for Ronaldo). There was incredible celebration, the first men’s player ever in world football to get 200 international games,” Martinez told uefa.com.
The former Real Madrid and Manchester United star’s record-extending 123rd international goal was initially ruled out for offside before being awarded by VAR.
“For me it’s an unbelievable achievement, it’s amazing,” said the 38-year-old Ronaldo. “And of course to score the winning goal, it’s even more special.”
Portugal remain two points clear of Slovakia at the top of Group J after a fourth straight win.
Slovakia, who are Portugal’s next opponents in September, won 1-0 away to Liechtenstein to stay unbeaten.
Luxembourg gave their unlikely bid to reach a maiden major tournament a boost with a brilliant 2-0 away victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina to move third, just three points behind Slovakia.
The top two from each group qualify automatically for next year’s finals in Germany.
Kante moves to Saudi League
France’s World Cup-winning midfielder N’Golo Kante has joined Saudi Arabian champions Al Ittihad, the club said in a statement on Wednesday, joining up with compatriot Karim Benzema.
“Kante is an Ittihad player now!” the club said on Twitter, while chairman Anmar al-Hailee tweeted: “Welcome to our new tiger Kante,” a reference to the team’s nickname.
The 32-year-old becomes the latest in a line of European stars choosing to ply their trade in the desert kingdom, which is making big-money moves across elite sport.
A dynamic and industrious midfielder, Kante won the World Cup with France in 2018.
His club career also glitters. He won the Champions League and World Club Cup with Chelsea, as well as back-to-back Premier League titles with Leicester City and Chelsea.
Kante’s contract with the London club was set to expire this month. He has signed a three-year deal with Al Ittihad, the Jeddah-based team said in a statement, though it gave no details of how much Kante will earn.
“Kante’s addition to Al-Ittihad is considered one of the most high-profile and impactful signings in the club’s history,” the statement added.
“It is part of the club’s efforts to establish itself as a top choice for world-class players in the Saudi Professional League.”
He will wear the number seven shirt, which he also donned at Chelsea.
Current Ballon d’Or holder Benzema joined Al-Ittihad earlier this month, after 14 seasons with Real Madrid in which he won five Champions Leagues, four La Liga titles and three Copas del Rey.
Zverev, Alcaraz win
Alexander Zverev won his opening match in Halle on Tuesday, defeating Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-4 at the Wimbledon warm-up event.
Fresh from a third consecutive semi-final appearance at the French Open, Zverev dominated Thiem in front of a home crowd to secure progress to the last 16.
Carlos Alcaraz survived a scare against lucky loser Arthur Rinderknech at Queen’s Club as Andy Murray’s winning streak on the grass was ended by Alex de Minaur.
Alcaraz was playing only his seventh match on grass and his first outside of Wimbledon as he prepares for the third Grand Slam tournament of the season next month.
Rinderknech, ranked 83 in the world, only found out he was playing the Spaniard hours before the match after Frenchman Arthur Fils, Alcaraz’s scheduled opponent, withdrew from the tournament.
But the 27-year-old almost stunned world No 2 before Alcaraz edged through 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3) in just over two-and-a-half hours.
Top seed Aryna Sabalenka won her opening match at the German Open in Berlin, beating veteran Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-2 to make it through to the last 16 ahead of next month’s Grand Slam at the All England Club.
Jelena Ostapenko set up a second-round meeting with Venus Williams at the Birmingham Open after overcoming grass-court rookie Linda Noskova 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.
The second seed stormed through the opening set, dropping just two points on serve.
But Noskova, who was playing her first professional match on grass, fought back to take the match to a deciding set.
Ostapenko, though, was far too strong in the third set as the former Wimbledon semi-finalist made sure she will take on Williams, who won her just her second singles match for nearly two years on Monday.
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day