Jan Žambůrek and the Czech Republic have ended the First Round of qualifying for next summer’s Under-19 European Championships unbeaten following a 1-1 draw with Norway on Tuesday.
After comprehensive victories over Azerbaijan and San Marino, both sides had qualified with a game to spare but top spot, and a potential place in Pot A for the Elite Round Qualifying draw, was still up for grabs. It was Norway who struck first, Noah Holm profiting from some penalty area pinball to convert on the hour. That was how it stayed until the first minute of injury-time when Jakub Kosař found space inside the area to crash home from 16 yards.
That goal gave Jan and the Czechs top spot in Group Seven, and means they are currently the fifth of seven seeds in Pot A with eight of the 13 groups yet to be decided.
Another player helping his nation to European Championship Qualifying victory on Tuesday was Patrik Gunnarsson as Iceland’s Under-21s bounced back from defeat to Sweden with victory over previously-unbeaten Republic of Ireland. Patrik, who was earning his sixth cap at his level, had to work hard for his clean sheet, making fine saves to deny Michael Obafemi and Gavin Kilkenny in particular, as the hosts took the points through a 29th minute Sveinn Aron Guðjohnsen penalty. Iceland remain second following the victory, a point behind Ireland but with a game in hand.
Elsewhere, Bryan Mbeumo and birthday boy Ellery Balcombe were unused substitutes as France and England’s Under-21s picked up comfortable Qualifying wins for the tournament in 2021. Odsonne Édouard struck a hat-trick as Les Bleuets won 5-3 in Slovakia while Eddie Nketiah also walked away with the match-ball following England’s 5-1 victory over Austria at Stadium:MK.