International round-up: Joy for Xhaka, Balogun

Granit Xhaka playing for Switzerland against Czech Republic

Granit Xhaka helped Switzerland remain in the top tier of the Nations League as they beat the Czech Republic 2-1 in St Gallen to avoid the drop.

Xhaka’s team only needed a draw to stay in League A and goals from Remo Freuler and Breel Embolo put them in firm control, and although Patrik Schick pulled one back and Tomas Soucek had a penalty saved, the Swiss held on to condemn their opponents to relegation instead.

Our midfielder played all 90 minutes of the contest, and marked his 30th birthday with his 106th cap for his country.

However there was disappointment for Martin Odegaard as he saw Norway’s chances of joining Xhaka in the Nations League’s top tier disappear after a 2-0 home defeat to Serbia.

Norway needed only a point to win promotion, but Dusan Vlahovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic netted to snatch top spot away from Odegaard’s side, with our skipper playing all 90 minutes in Oslo.

One team that did win promotion to League A was Scotland after they drew 0-0 in Ukraine, although Kieran Tierney was absent for the crunch game in Poland following his head injury sustained against the Republic of Ireland over the weekend.

Away from the Nations League, Matt Turner kept a clean sheet in the USA’s goalless draw with Saudi Arabia as he remained between the posts for the second consecutive game during this break.

The Americans - who are in England and Wales’ group alongside Iran - collected their second consecutive draw with Turner called into action to make a couple of decent saves in Murcia to ensure he remained unbeaten.

Balogun nets again

Folarin Balogun celebrates scoring for England under-21s

Folarin Balogun continued his fine goalscoring start to the season by getting on the scoresheet during England under-21s 3-1 win against Germany. 

The on-loan Reims man finished well after being picked out inside the box to draw his team level four minutes from time and net his seventh under-21s strike, and further goals from Connor Gallagher and Cole Palmer sealed the win for Lee Carsley’s team.

Charlie Patino played the final 15 minutes of England under-20s 3-0 win against Australia as they completed a clean sweep with their third victory of this international break in Spain, while Myles Lewis-Skelly and Ethan Nwaneri both received gametime in both of England under-17s’ Syrenka Cup defeats to Norway and the Czech Republic.

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