International Round-Up

Monday 12 October 2015 12:00

Saturday saw Jazz Richards’ Wales secure qualification for next year’s European Championship, despite a 2-0 defeat away to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Fulham right-back played the full 90 minutes of the encounter, with the knowledge that a point would guarantee their place in France.

That didn’t happen as second-half strikes from Milan Djuric and Vedad Ibisevic earned the hosts victory, but Cyprus’ win over Israel meant that Chris Coleman’s side cannot be caught in second place in Group B, thereby securing qualification for a major tournament for the first time since the 1958 World Cup.

Posting on Instagram after the game, Richards said: “What a group of lads. Big characters on and off the field! Something big has been brewing and it’s finally arrived #Euros2016 #TogetherStronger.”

In Group F on Sunday, Sakari Mattila played the entirety of Finland’s 1-1 draw with Northern Ireland in Helsinski.

It was a dead rubber for the Finns after their draw with Romania three days earlier ended their qualification hopes, and they fell behind to Craig Cathcart’s header just after the half-hour mark.

Paulus Arajuuri equalised late on for the home side but Northern Ireland still finished top of the group with the point. Jesse Joronen was an unused substitute for Finland.

Elsewhere in the group, Greece ended their disappointing campaign on a high with a 4-3 victory over Hungary, but still finished bottom in the standings.

Kostas Mitroglou played the full game and scored his side’s third goal, while former Fulham loanee Kostas Stafylidis was also on target, and fellow ex-Whites Zoltan Gera and Gabor Kiraly featured for Hungary.

In qualifying for the Under-21 European Championship, Lasse Vigen Christensen captained Denmark in their goalless draw at home to Wales, with Jordan Evans coming off the bench for the visitors.

That was Denmark’s first match of the campaign and they’re in action again in Group 5 on Tuesday when they host Bulgaria.

The Republic of Ireland made it three wins from three in Group 2 as they comfortably defeated Lithuania 3-0 in Waterford on Friday, with Sean Kavanagh seeing 90 minutes.

Two goals in four first-half minutes from Callum O’Dowda and Conor Wilkinson put them in control, and Kavanagh set up Alan Browne for the result-clinching third strike on 77.

Next up they face second-place Italy – who also boast a 100 per cent record – in Vicenza on Tuesday.

In Group 6, Mattias Kait played the entirety of 10-man Estonia’s 5-0 defeat in Sweden.

It was always going to be a struggle for the visitors after Madis Vihmann was sent off after just eight minutes, and goals from Melker Hallberg and Gustav Engvall (2) gave the Scandinavians an assertive half-time lead, before Ferhad Ayaz’s late brace completed the rout.

It’s a result that leaves Estonia bottom of the group with just one point from four matches.

Earlier last week, Tayo Edun came on for the second half as England Under-17s thumped Democratic Republic of Congo 8-0 in their penultimate World Cup warm-up.

Chrissy Willock, Marcus Edwards, Kazaiah Sterling (2), Ike Ugbo (2), Stephy Mavididi and Kaylen Hinds sealed the win for the Young Lions, who kick off the tournament against Guinea on Saturday.

In Olympic qualifying, Emerson Hyndman played 64 minutes of the United States Under-23s’ 2-0 Semi-Final defeat by Honduras on Saturday.

They do still have a chance of reaching the Games, but need to beat Canada in Tuesday’s Third-Place meeting in order to set up a Play-Off with Colombia for a spot at the Rio Olympics next year.

On Friday, Adam Taggart started and Cameron Burgess was named amongst the substitutes as Australia U23s were beaten 2-0 by Korea Republic. The two sides will meet again in Incheon this week.