International

Big win for Jorginho’s Italy as Alvaro Morata hits a double for Spain

Jorginho was at the heart of midfield for Italy as they hit 10-man Liechtenstein for six in Euro 2020 qualification tonight, while a brace for Alvaro Morata combined with a clean sheet for Kepa Arrizabalaga helped Spain to a 2-0 victory in Malta.

Roberto Mancini continued with the central pairing of Jorginho and Marco Veratti as the Italians completely dominated in Parma, with the hosts going into the break four goals up and with a man advantage. Stefano Sensi, Veratti and Fabio Quagliarella were on the scoresheet before the midway point, with Daniel Kaufmann dismissed for the visitors for a deliberate handball.

The Chelsea man was withdrawn after an hour before his side added two further goals to place them in a commanding early position in the group following Saturday’s 2-0 win over Finland.

Further south, Kepa was recalled to the starting line-up for Spain as they also made it two wins from two in qualification. The 24-year-old was largely untroubled as Morata got the goals to seal all three points for Luis Enrique’s side. The striker, on loan at Atletico Madrid, slammed a left-footed finish across the goalkeeper after half an hour to net his first international goal since November 2017.

However, his wait for another lasted just 42 minutes as he converted a brilliant cross from Jesus Navas to head in at the back post, collecting his 15th goal for Spain in the process and moving into the top 20 all-time goalscorers for his country. The win takes the Euro 2012 winners clear at the top of their qualifying group.

Elsewhere, Andreas Christensen was an unused substitute as Switzerland and Denmark played out a dramatic contest in Basel. The hosts established a 3-0 advantage with goals from Remo Freuler, Breel Embolo and Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, though the Danes fought back to snatch a point with three goals in the final six minutes.

Kenneth Omeruo was an unused sub as Nigeria beat Egypt in a friendly. The defender, on loan this season at Leganes in La Liga, had featured in a 3-1 win over Seychelles in African Cup of Nations qualifying on Friday. Ola Aina pulled out of the squad through injury.

At the younger age groups, Aidy Boothroyd’s England Under-21 side were beaten at home for the first time since 2011 as they lost to a late Germany goal at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium. Jake Clarke-Salter started at centre-back and Jay Dasilva was introduced off the bench for the young Lions, whose equaliser was scored by Dominic Solanke, another Chelsea Academy graduate, playing at his new home on the south coast.

With the game heading towards a stalemate, Wolfsburg’s Felix Uduokhai struck in stoppage time to inflict a rare loss on Boothroyd’s boys. Fikayo Tomori was an unused sub. Their attention now turns to the European Championship at that age group, which will be played in Italy and San Marino in June.

It was a disappointing conclusion for England in the Under-20 Elite League as they suffered a 1-0 reverse away in Portugal. Reece James played throughout, while Dujon Sterling was a second-half substitute. Paul Simpson’s side lost to a goal from Braga’s Pedro Martelo after an hour.

There was a heartbreaking late defeat for the Dutch Under-19s as Daishawn Redan and Juan Castillo proved unable to prevent a last-gasp winner handing Spain a crucial win in qualification for the Euro finals. The Netherlands needed just a point to finish top of their group and advance to the summer tournament in Armenia, however the 90th-minute goal means Spain will take part in the eight-team final tournament instead.

At Under-17 level, Ian Maatsen played the full game at left-back as Netherlands beat Czech Republic 5-2 and advanced to their summer finals as group winners. Sam McClelland helped Northern Ireland to a clean sheet but their 0-0 draw with Israel was not enough to stop them from finishing bottom of their group.

MORE FROM CHELSEA