Two Reds seal Euro 2024 place as Kostas Tsimikas gets timely assist

Two Reds secured qualification for next summer’s Euros on Friday night, while another who might soon be needed for his club produced the goods for his country.

Liverpool’s centre-back pairing Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate lined up against one another as a Kylian Mbappe brace helped France to a 2-1 victory against the Netherlands.

Van Dijk and Konate looked to have clashed heads from a set piece at one stage, but it appeared no real damage was done from a rare instance in which they were required to compete against each other in the air.

The win was enough to secure Euro 2024 qualification for France, with Konate and his teammates maintaining their perfect record in Group B.

He will be joined by Diogo Jota in Germany next summer, who came on as a substitute as Portugal wrapped up qualification with a 3-2 win over Slovakia.

The 26-year-old was restricted to a late cameo appearance as two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo helped ensure his country’s progression from Group J of qualifying with three games to spare.

Liverpool fans will have a keen eye on the form of Kostas Tsimikas, with the left-back set for a step up in responsibility in the absence of Andy Robertson.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 27, 2023: Liverpool's Kostas Tsimikas during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Robertson sustained a dislocated shoulder during Scotland’s 2-0 defeat to Spain on Thursday night and Tsimikas staked his claim for the vacated minutes with an excellent first-half assist against Republic of Ireland.

Japan captain Wataru Endo was involved for an hour as his country picked up an impressive 4-1 friendly win over Canada.

The 30-year-old kicked off an exquisite move that culminated in his side’s fourth goal of the evening, with the only blemish coming in the form of a Junior Hoilett strike in the dying minutes.