INTERNATIONALS: ESSIEN HELPS GHANA TO ANOTHER WORLD CUP FINALS

Ghana are safely through to the World Cup finals in Brazil next summer after a 7-3 aggregate victory over Egypt.

Michael Essien played the full 90 minutes in central midfield for the Black Stars, while Christian Atsu was an unused substitute.

Leading 6-1 from the first leg, Ghana conceded to Amr Zaki's header in the 25th minute but frustrated the hosts, who still required four goals to progress, thereafter.

Hull City's Gedo did find the net with seven minutes remaining but the tie was well beyond Egypt by then, and it was the visitors that had the final word when Kevin-Prince Boateng, of Schalke, converted Asamoah Gyan's cross in the final minute of normal time.

Ghana have qualified for their third consecutive World Cup finals. They reached the second round in 2006 in Germany and went one better in 2010, eventually losing on penalties to Uruguay at the quarter-final stage in South Africa.

In the day's early Under-21 international matches, three Chelsea players stayed on course for qualification for the 2015 European Championship finals with wins.

Andreas Christensen was in the Denmark Under-21 defence that kept a clean sheet away in Andorra, his side running out 2-0 winners against opposition who were reduced to 10 men shortly after half-time. The Danes have a one-point lead over Russia at the top of their group.

Croatia Under-21s are three points ahead of their group rivals following a 3-1 home win over Latvia. Stipe Perica, who signed for Chelsea in the summer before going out on loan, scored Croatia's third goal before being subbed inside the final five minutes. Another on-loan player, Matej Delac, started in goal having come on as a sub in Croatia's game last week.