Friday 07 September 2012
Liverpool's Jonjo Shelvey scored one and set up another as England strengthened their claim to qualify for the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship with a 2-0 win against Azerbaijan.
England took the lead in Baku after 28 minutes when Steven Caulker, the Tottenham Hotspur defender who also had two headers cleared off the line, rose highest to meet Shelvey’s free-kick, and the Liverpool midfielder crowned a fine display with the visitors' second goal seven minutes from time after Sunderland's Connor Wickham had knocked on Caulker's pass upfield.
Stuart Pearce's side are two points clear of Norway, against whom they must avoid defeat in their final Group Eight game in Chesterfield on Monday to reach the play-offs.
Full report (read here)
Robbie Brady, of Manchester United, beat Liverpool goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi from the penalty spot but his goal could not prevent a Republic of Ireland side including Arsenal's Conor Henderson from suffering a 2-1 Group 7 defeat by Hungary, which dashed their qualifying hopes.
United team-mate David de Gea kept a clean sheet to help Spain earn a point against Switzerland in Sion. The reigning European champions, including Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu, dominated possession but failed to find a breakthrough against the side they beat in last year's final and who lined up with Fulham's Pajtim Kasami in the No 10 role.
Spain nonetheless reached the play-offs as a result of their Group 5 draw.
Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Jordan Archer also had to be on his mettle as he was called upon to make a crucial first-half save from Billy Bernard before Scotland scored three unanswered second-half goals against Luxembourg to keep their qualification prospects alive.
There were also senior players in international action on Thursday night, with Southampton's new signing Maya Yoshida playing all 90 minutes of Japan's friendly against UAE in Tokyo. In a warm-up for their FIFA World Cup qualifier on Tuesday against Iraq, Japan won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Mike Havenaar with Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa featuring in the first half only.
There were also two Premier League players in the Sweden team who beat China 1-0 in Stockholm. Sebastian Larsson, of Sunderland, and West Bromwich Albion defender Jonas Olsson both played the whole of the match, which was won by a goal from former Bolton Wanderers forward Johan Elmander early in the second half.
Slovenia 2-1 Sweden
Ukraine 5-1 Malta
Switzerland 0-0 Spain
Georgia 2-1 Estonia
Russia 4-1 Poland
Moldova 2-1 Albania
Italy 7-0 Liechtenstein
Hungary 2-1 Republic of Ireland
Azerbaijan 0-2 England
Belgium 1-3 Norway
Scotland 3-0 Luxembourg
Latvia 1-1 Kazakhstan
Scotland 3-0 Luxembourg