Patrik Gunnarsson kept a clean sheet for Iceland as they got their UEFA Euro Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign off to a perfect start with a 3-0 victory over Luxembourg.
Despite bossing the game from the start in Vikin, Iceland couldn’t find a way through a stubborn Luxembourg defence before the break. However, they didn’t have to wait long after the restart to make that dominance count, Sveinn Aron Guðjohnsen scoring from the penalty spot three minutes into the half. Jón Dagur Thorsteinsson added a long-range second just before the hour with Willum Þór Willumsson wrapping up the points shortly after. Last night’s clean sheet was Patrik’s first in three caps at Under-21 level. Next up is another qualifying game on Monday at home to Armenia.
Elsewhere in qualifying around Europe, Nick Tsaroulla was a late substitute as Cyprus Under-21s suffered a narrow defeat to their Norwegian counterparts in Drammen. The hosts’ goals came early in both halves through Tobias Heintz and Kristian Thorstvedt. Nick was brought on with 18 minutes to play for his competitive Under-21 debut. Paris Polikarpou gave Cyprus a lifeline two minutes later, but they couldn’t force a dramatic equaliser. Next up is a trip to Doetinchem to take on Holland next Tuesday.
Our other three players away with their nations last night all remained unused substitutes as their sides picked up victories. Ellery Balcombe watched on as England’s Under-21s beat Turkey, for whom Halil Dervişoğlu played the full 90 minutes, 3-2 in Izmit; Eddie Nketiah netting a brace for the Young Lions. A 3rd minute Brennan Johnson saw Cole Dasilva and Wales take the points against Belgium at The Racecourse Ground while Jaakko Oksanen's Iceland Under-21s won 2-0 in Ukraine.
All three nations will look to build on their winning starts next week when England host Kosovo at the KC Stadium, Germany travel to Wrexham to play Wales, and Finland welcome Northern Ireland to Oulu.