There was action for four of our players in UEFA Under-21 European Championship Qualifying last night.
Josh Dasilva was an unused substitute in Pristina as England’s Under-21s thrashed Kosovo 6-0. Eddie Nketiah grabbed a hat-trick with Jude Bellingham coming off the bench to become England’s youngest scorer at this level. The win sets the Young Lions up perfectly for Tuesday’s game against their nearest challengers for Group C top spot, Austria. Victory at the Keine Sorgen Arena would leave Aidy Boothroyd’s side needing a maximum of four points from their final three games to qualify.
Also in Group C, there was an important win for Halil Dervisoglu and Turkey over Andorra. The 20-year-old striker earned his eighth cap, starting the game at the Necmi̇ Kadioğlu Sports Complex. The only goal came four minutes into the second half, Beşiktaş forward Güven Yalçın the man to get it. Halil was withdrawn with 25 minutes to play as Turkey moved up to fourth in the Group, five points behind second-placed Austria.
Bryan Mbeumo came off the bench to help France to a 2-0 victory over Georgia. Les Espoirs led 1-0 thanks to an Ilia Beriashvili own goal when Bryan was introduced with 18 minutes to play for his sixth Under-21 cap. He played a key role in the second, winning the injury-time penalty which Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard converted to seal the win. France still trail Switzerland by three points at the top of Group B as they head to Azerbaijan on Monday for their next fixture.
In Group H, Mads Bech won his fourth cap of the qualifying campaign as Denmark snatched a late point at home to Ukraine. The Danes had won their first five qualifiers but looked set for defeat following Danylo Sikan’s 73rd minute opener at the Aalborg Stadium. However, Emil Riis Jakobsen netted in the 95th minute to maintain The Danes unbeaten start and leave them three points clear at the top of the Group. A trip to Ballymena to face Northern Ireland is up next for Mads on Tuesday.
The side chasing The Danes in Group H is Romania after their 3-1 win over Jaakko Oksanen and Finland in Turku. The two sides teams traded first-half goals before Romania edged ahead on the hour through Valentin Mihăilă. Jaakko came on for his ninth cap with ten minutes to play but a late Andrei Ciobanu effort wrapped up the points. Finland stay third ahead of their home game against Ukraine but are now six-points off second spot.
It’s the turn of the senior internationals tonight. Christian Norgaard and Henrik Dalsgaard are with the Denmark squad preparing to face England in the Nations League A while Patrik Gunnarsson’s Iceland host Belgium in the same group. Pontus Jansson and Sweden begin their campaign with a home game against World Champions France in Stockholm.