In Saturday’s European Championship qualifiers, Mateo Kovacic came on for the final quarter-of-an-hour as Croatia earned the result needed to seal a place at next summer’s European Championship finals.
They went into Saturday’s home game against Slovakia requiring a point to qualify but had to work hard to achieve it, having trailed 1-0 at half-time.However two goals in five second-half minutes from CSKA Moscow’s Nikola Vlasic and Dinamo Zagreb’s Bruno Petkovic put Croatia in front and their cause was aided by a red card for former Man City junior Robert Mak.As soon as Ivan Perisic made it 3-1, Kovacic was introduced and that was the final score. Mario Pasalic remained on the bench.Michy Batshuayi was an unused substitute as Belgium guaranteed themselves top spot in their group with an impressive 4-1 win away against Russia.The goals for the already qualified Belgians all came from former Chelsea players with Thorgan Hazard opening the scoring with a powerful strike and Eden Hazard scoring a rapid-fire double as half-time approached.Romelu Lukaku made it 4-0 with just under 20 minutes remaining with the consolation goal for the Russian, who had also qualified before this game, coming not long after.
Ethan Ampadu featured for Wales in a 2-0 win in Azerbaijan which keeps their hopes of making Euro 2020 alive. The goals came in the first half from Liverpool’s Harry Wilson and Kieffer Moore of Wigan, with Ampadu playing all but the final few minutes. The Welsh now need a win in their final qualifier at home to Hungary on Tuesday.There was action for Chelsea Academy players on Saturday in the latest round of qualifiers for the Euros at Under-19 level.Thierno Ballo scored Austria Under-19s’ opening goal in a 2-1 win at home to Switzerland. The victory means the Austrians have taken six points out of six at the start of their qualification campaign for the 2020 European Under-19 Championships, which will be held in Northern Ireland.England Under-19s followed in the footsteps of their senior side by recording a big home win over North Macedonia. It was 5-0 on this occasion and although no Chelsea player was among the goals, Clinton Mola played the full 90 minutes in defence. Tino Anjorin and Tino Livramento were unused subs. The Young Lions also have maximum points in their group after two games played.
Armando Broja scored for Albania Under-19s in their match away against Belgium but the goal, which came in the 76th minute, was too late to prevent a 2-1 defeat which leaves the Albanians without a point after two games.England Under-18s played a friendly international on Saturday afternoon and Chelsea defender Dynel Simeu played the whole game. It was a goal-laden encounter with Norway the opposition in a match held in Spain. England came from behind to level the scores at 3-3 near the end but having conceded again, they needed a 95th-minute equaliser to emerge with a 4-4 draw.