Ben Chilwell marked his 15th England cap by scoring his first international goal, while Andreas Christensen, Billy Gilmour and Armando Broja all boosted their countries’ chances of qualifying for the World Cup with victories.
Chilwell was named in the starting line-up by England manager Gareth Southgate for the first time since March as the Three Lions travelled to Andorra in World Cup qualifying and made his presence felt early on by scoring the opening goal.
A week to the day since scoring his first goal of the season for Chelsea against Southampton, the left-back ghosted into the penalty area late after Jadon Sancho had latched on to Phil Foden’s ball over the top, firing low into the back of the net after the Manchester United winger laid the ball off into his path.
Mason Mount joined Chilwell on the pitch from the bench for the last 20 minutes of the comprehensive 5-0 win and contributed to a strong Chelsea Academy connection for England, with former Blue Tammy Abraham getting the third goal and defender Fikayo Tomori also introduced as a substitute.
That leaves England four points clear at the top of Group I after another striker who learned his trade in our Academy scored to give Albania a 1-0 win away in Hungary. Armando Broja, currently on loan at Southampton, came off the bench in the second half and did well to create space for himself in the box and evade the defenders before slotting into the bottom corner with 10 minutes left. It was the 20-year-old’s third goal for his country on his ninth appearance.
There was a routine day in the office for Christensen and Denmark away in Moldova in Group F. They strolled to a 4-0 victory and will feel their winning margin could have been even larger, although the Chelsea defender didn’t put a foot wrong in a back three as they denied their opponents a single shot in the 90 minutes.
That leaves them seven points clear at the top of their group after Scotland recorded a last-gasp win over Israel to leapfrog their opponents into second spot, which would provide a place in the World Cup qualification play-offs.
That proved to be far from an easy task, though, as despite another impressive performance from the young Gilmour at this level, they twice found themselves behind after conceding the opening goal just five minutes in. There was an additional blow as the Tartan Army missed a penalty in first-half injury time to go in at the break 2-1 down.
However, a dramatic comeback saw them recover to win 3-2 thanks to a goal bundled over the line in the fourth minute of added time, with Gilmour making way shortly afterwards as Scotland ran down the clock in the final seconds. They now know victories over Moldova and the Faroe Islands in their last two games will guarantee them a place in the play-offs.
World Cup qualification was also under way in Africa, where Edouard Mendy and Senegal cemented their place at the top of Group H with a comfortable 4-1 win over second-place Namibia, having led from the 10th minute until the end.
Baba Rahman was in the starting line-up for Ghana’s home group game against Zimbabwe. Despite a brief scare as a second-half penalty brought the visitors back into the tie, it was a fairly straightforward 3-1 win for the Black Stars. That result leaves them in second place, one point behind South Africa and qualification for the third round at the midway mark.
In the younger age groups, two Chelsea Academy players got on the score sheet for their country.
Bryan Fiabema led the line for Norway and found the net just after the hour mark as they thrashed Wales 5-0 at home in a qualifier for this year’s European Under-19 Championship.
Fellow Blues forward Harvey Vale came off the bench for England Under-19s in a friendly with Mexico in Spain, scoring the last of three second-half goals as they recovered from conceding an early opener to end up 3-1 winners.