Even without Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal had no issue finding the back of the net in Euro 2024 Qualifying against Luxembourg. Against Ronaldo’s favorite international opponent, the side’s all-time leading scorer missed out due to suspension. If you saw the scoreline from Monday’s fixture, one would think Ronaldo played.

Instead, three players from Portugal grabbed braces. In total, six players scored in the qualifying match. Over the two games against Luxembourg, Portugal outscored its rival 15-0. It is a key reason why Portugal sits atop Group J with a goal differential of 24. Yet, Luxembourg remains a candidate to reach the group stages of Euro 2024. Courtesy of wins over Iceland, Liechtenstein and a shocking road win at Bosnia and Herzegovina, Luxembourg is alive. With four games left in qualifying, Luxembourg is on 10 points, three behind Slovakia.

Still, the talk of its game on Monday is the concession of nine goals. Goncalo Inacio and Goncalo Ramos both had first-half braces. Despite the four-goal lead at the break, Roberto Martinez did not make any substitutions. Instead, Diogo Jota added a second-half brace. Then, Ricardo Horta, Bruno Fernandes and Joao Felix got on the scoresheet.

This was Portugal’s largest margin of victory ever, and it came in a competitive game.

Iceland and Wales pick up crucial wins in Euro 2024 Qualifying

At the same time Portugal thumped Luxembourg, Iceland and Wales played out much closer games against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Latvia, respectively.

Having lost two one-goal games in qualifying already, Iceland was the beneficiary of a stoppage-time goal worth three points. Alfreð Finnbogason guided in the winner to defeat Bosnia as Iceland clings to life in Group J. Iceland jumps up to six points in Group J, which is level with Bosnia. Both need help to get into Euro 2024 from other teams in the group.

Outside of Group J, Wales scored two goals on the road to see off Latvia. Aaron Ramsey scored a first-half penalty that proved to be the winner. Then, David Brooks scored in the sixth minute of second-half stoppage time to secure three points for the Welsh.

Each of these teams is done for the September international break. They play their next two games in Euro 2024 Qualifying in October 2023.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Maciej Rogowski