Internationals: Narrow wins for Spain and Italy

Spain and Italy’s World Cup qualifying group campaign ended in victory while the play-off picture was completed with mixed results for a couple of our players.

Pedro and Cesar Azpilicueta started in a much-changed Spain side who had already booked their place at next summer’s showpiece.

Asier Illarramendi blasted in a stunning strike with around 15 minutes remaining in Jerusalem after Spain had dominated for long periods but struggled to break through. Pedro had their best chance moments before half-time but was denied by the keeper.

Azpilicueta completed the match at right-back while Pedro was subbed off shortly before the only goal.

Also in that group, Davide Zappacosta played the final half-hour of Italy’s 1-0 win in Albania with the goal coming after his introduction. The Italians will be one of the seeded teams in the play-offs.

Youngster Ethan Ampadu was an unused substitute for Wales who lost at home to Ireland and will therefore not be heading to the World Cup. But Mario Pasalic and Croatia still have a chance of qualifying after they won 2-0 in Ukraine. The midfielder, on loan at Spartak Moscow, was brought on for the final couple of minutes after former Leicester striker Andrej Kramaric had netted a brace.

Serbia topped Wales and Ireland's group after beating Georgia, so former Blues Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matic will have the chance to compete in Russia. 

At Under-19 level, Mason Mount netted for England who drew 2-2 in Slovakia as they continue their preparations for next month’s Euros qualifiers in Bulgaria.

Mount, spending the season on loan at Vitesse Arnhem, was one of three Blues who started and he gave England the lead after six minutes.

The teams then exchanged goals early in the second half before the hosts Slovakia equalised very late on, by which time Mount had been replaced. Trevoh Chalobah and Dujon Sterling played the full game, and Reece James was an unused sub.