International round-up: Saka and Xhaka star

Bukayo Saka scores for England against Ukraine

Bukayo Saka put in a starring performance for England as he recorded a goal and an assist to help the Three Lions beat Ukraine 2-0 in a Euro 2024 qualifier at Wembley.

Having played his part in helping his side beat Italy four days earlier, our attacker once again proved to be the difference for his country as he helped them defeat Oleksandr Zinchenko’s team, and was named Man of the Match in the process.

Bukayo's first piece of brilliance came in the 37th minute when he jinked his way down the right flank and put in a fine cross to put the ball on a plate for Harry Kane to tuck away, and then just three minutes later, he turned on the ball and curled an unstoppable left-footed strike into the top corner.

Both Bukayo and Oleksandr played the full 90 minutes as they ended their international duties during this window, while elsewhere in the group Jorginho was an unused substitute in Italy’s 2-0 win against Malta.

Xhaka shines for Swiss

Granit Xhaka celebrates Switzerland beating Belarus

Granit Xhaka’s Switzerland got off to an excellent start to qualifying by thumping Belarus 5-0 in a game played behind closed doors in Serbia.

The Swiss raced into a 3-0 half-time lead thanks to a hat-trick by Renato Steffen, and then after the break Granit netted his 13th international goal by picking up possession 25 yards out, taking a touch and arrowing the ball into the bottom corner.

Two minutes later, the skipper’s fine long pass assisted Zeki Amdouni to round off the scoring, before being replaced moments later with the result firming in the bag.

Switzerland now return home for their second qualifier against Israel on Tuesday, where Granit could win his 113th cap as he closes in on Heinz Hermann’s national team record of 118.

Mixed bag elsewhere in Europe

Martin Odegaard following Norway's game against Spain

Leandro Trossard played just over an hour as Belgium got their campaign off to a fine start by beating Sweden 3-0 in Stockholm via a Romelu Lukaku treble, while Kieran Tierney’s Scotland recorded the same scoreline as they beat Cyprus at Hampden Park, with our left-back playing the full game.

However it wasn’t such good news for Martin Odegaard and Jakub Kiwior, who tasted defeat in their opening qualifying games. Martin captained Norway and played the full game in their 3-0 loss against Spain in Malaga, while Jakub also played every minute as Poland fell to a 3-1 defeat against the Czech Republic in Prague, with two goals for the hosts in the first three minutes doing the damage.

Turner strikes Gold

Matt Turner in goal for the USA

Matt Turner once again took his place between the posts as the USA thrashed Grenada 7-1 away from home, to reach the 2023 Gold Cup finals as they aim to retain their title. They now host El Salvador on Monday, aiming for a win or draw to also reach this summer’s Concacaf Nations League finals in Las Vegas.

While Matt won his 25th cap for his country, our on-loan defender Auston Trusty earned his first and also grabbed an assist during an impressive 90-minute display.

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