Match action in the first international break of the season kicked off on Thursday night and saw four of the Chelsea contingent involved in Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Jorginho and Emerson Palmieri both played the full 90 minutes as Italy came from behind to defeat 10-man Armenia and preserve their 100 per cent qualifying record. Roberto Mancini’s side made the long trip east to Yerevan having won all four of their opening games in Group J, though they fell behind when striker Alexander Karapetian broke the deadlock with 11 minutes on the clock.
The equaliser just before the half-hour mark came courtesy of Emerson’s excellent work down the left. After advancing promisingly from full-back, the 25-year-old then provided a perfect cross to find the unmarked Andrea Belotti at the back post and the Torino man finished the job with a smart volleyed finish.
Armenia were reduced to 10 men late in the first half but survived the second period until late on, when two goals in three minutes sealed the points for the visitors. The Italians are now well-placed to be one of the 24 teams at next summer’s Euro finals, having failed to reach 2018’s FIFA World Cup in Russia, and remain seven points clear of second-placed Finland.
Spain are also flawless with five wins from five after claiming a hard-fought victory over Romania in Bucharest. Kepa Arrizabalaga started his fourth consecutive qualifier between the sticks, though he was denied another successful shutout for the Spaniards when Brighton striker Florin Andone scored on the hour.
La Roja were 2-0 up at that time following a penalty scored by Sergio Ramos and a second netted by Paco Alcacer early in the second half. Despite seeing a man sent off with 11 minutes remaining, the visitors held on to secure the points, with Kepa making a few crucial saves late on. It remains unchanged among the top three in Group F, with Sweden and Norway winning comfortably.
The biggest win of the night went in favour of Denmark as a team with Andreas Christensen at centre-back thumped Gibraltar 6-0 away. Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen was among the goals with a brace, while our 23-year-old defender contributed to a first clean sheet in qualifying for the Danes. Switzerland’s draw in Dublin against group leaders Republic of Ireland closes the gap between the top two to just three points.
Five days after making his senior debut in the Premier League, Billy Gilmour played the majority of Scotland Under-21s’ 2-0 victory over San Marino. In their opening game of qualification for the 2021 European Under-21 Championships, an early own goal and a second from Glenn Middleton earned the Scots three points. Gilmour was withdrawn after 88 minutes.
Conor Gallagher and Tariq Lamptey were starters for England Under-20s against their counterparts from the Netherlands. Shrewsbury Town’s New Meadow was the venue but there were no goals to enjoy for the 2,500 fans in attendance in Shropshire. Juan Castillo was a late sub for the Dutch.
Clinton Mola was a late substitute for England Under-19s at St George’s Park as Paul Simpson’s side ran out 3-1 winners against Greece.
Karlo Ziger kept goal for Croatia Under-19s against Russia in a game that ended 0-0 and with three red cards, while Armando Broja came on at half-time for Albania Under-21s in a 4-0 defeat against France.
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