International

Jorginho scores in major win for Italy but Kepa and Spain thwarted late on

In Saturday night’s internationals, Jorginho was on target for Italy who qualified for next summer’s European Championship finals thanks to a 2-0 win at home to Greece.

The Chelsea midfielder broke the deadlock in Rome from the penalty spot with 63 minutes played before Federico Bernardeschi of Juventus made the three points safe with the second goal.

The earlier penalty was awarded for handball and was converted in characteristic style by Jorginho, an important moment for an Azzurri side which had been dominating possession without creating many chances. As a result of the win, which was their seventh out of seven in this qualification group, Italy guarantee their place at Euro 2020 with three games to go, an impressive rebound for a nation which failed to make the last World Cup.
 

A penalty also played a big part in Spain’s Saturday night qualifier but it was a tale of frustration for Kepa Arrizabalaga and his side. They were about to secure their Euro 2020 slot and Kepa was on the verge of keeping a clean sheet when, with Spain leading 1-0 away in Norway, the Chelsea goalie conceded a penalty in the 92nd minute with a foul for which he was booked.

Bournemouth’s Josh King scored from the spot and the matched ended 1-1 which means Spain have to wait to confirm their qualification. They lead Sweden by five points with three games left to play, the first of which is away against the Swedes on Tuesday.
 

In today’s game, Spain had taken the lead through Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez who scored shortly after half-time. They later hit the woodwork twice but came under late pressure from Norway with Kepa called into action to make a save before the penalty incident. He had denied King in the first half.

Elsewhere in Scandinavia, there was success for Andreas Christensen and Denmark as they moved joint top of their Euro 2020 qualification group thanks to a 1-0 home win over Switzerland.

Christensen was part of the clean-sheet keeping defence until he was substituted with 87 minutes on the clock, just two minutes after the Danes had scored the only goal of the game through Leipzig’s Yussuf Poulsen.

The result flattered the Danes who made few chances while at the other end, their goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was named man of the match with his performance capped by a crucial save deep into stoppage time, but the three points gained means they are on the same total as Republic of Ireland with two qualifiers to come.

Those are both in November against Gibraltar at home and then Ireland away. Switzerland with a game in hand can still qualifier.

At Under-19 level on Saturday, Henry Lawrence was one of the goalscorers for England in 4-2 win against Belgium in a game held in Spain. The goal came shortly after the start of the second half and made it 3-1. It was the midfielder’s first Under-19 international goal. His Chelsea team-mate Clinton Mola was an unused substitute.

Karlo Ziger was in goal for Croatia Under-19s in a European Championship qualifier at home to Hungary. He kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 win which leaves his side top of their group having taken six points out of six.

 

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