INTERNATIONALS: UNDER-21S REACH GROUP STAGE CONCLUSION

Milan Lalkovic (pictured), the 19-year-old striker currently on-loan at Vitoria Guimaraes in the Portugal, helped Slovakia Under-21s make the qualification play-offs for next summer’s European Championships.

He came on in the 77th minute of Monday’s match and scored the final goal in a 6-0 thumping at home to Kazakhstan. It gave Slovakia second place in the group and they go through as one of the best runners-up by the small margin of superior goal difference.

Spain Under -21s secured top spot in their group and a place in the play-offs on Thursday. Oriol Romeu played that match but remained on the bench for Monday evening’s match at home to Croatia. The result was the same as Slovakia’s – a 6-0 win.

Thorgan Hazard played the first 72 minutes for Belgian Under 21s as they comprehensively defeated Iceland at home. He was withdrawn with the score at 3-0, Belgium going on to net another two goals without reply. However they already knew they couldn’t make the finals in June in Israel.

In the same group, England Under-21s were already guaranteed a place as one of the best runners-up at the very least and they secured the point they required for top spot with a 1-0 win over Norway, although Josh Mc Eachran had been ruled out before kick-off with a thigh injury.

Moving down the age groups, three members of Chelsea’s FA Youth Cup-winning side from last season started an Under-19 friendly between Scotland and the Netherlands in Falkirk.

Centre-back Alex Davey, who made his debut at this level last month, scored late on for the Scots who were trailing 2-0. The Dutch were captained by Davey’s regular centre-back partner at Chelsea, Nathan Ake, and with their keeper making a save right at the end, held on for a 2-1 win. Islam Freuz played up front for Scotland.

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