Ghana got off to a flier in their two-leg play-off for World Cup qualification by winning 6-1 at home against Egypt.

Michael Essien played the whole game and had a big part in the second goal, his surge with the ball to the edge of the six-yard area ending with a defender turning it into his own net.

Chelsea summer signing Christian Atsu completed the rout against the seven-times Africa Cup of Nations winners. Having come on in the 83rd-minute, the 21-year-old, who is on loan at Vitesse, finished a strong run by firing in off the post for an eye-catching goal.

Two former Premier League players were also among the goals, Sulley Muntari and Asamoah Gyan, the latter netting twice. The second leg is next month.

At Under-21 level, England followed up on last week’s win over San Marino with another healthy victory, beating Lithuania 5-0 at Portman Road. Nathaniel Chalobah returned to the starting line up and played the full game, with the goals coming from Ravel Morrison and Saido Berahino who both scored twice and James Ward-Prowse. England are well placed in their qualification group for the 2015 Euro finals with 10 points from four games.

Andreas Christensen and Denmark Under-21s closed the gap to Russia at the top of their group by winning 2-0 away against their Russian counterparts. The Danes now trail by two points after four of the 10 group games played.

On Wednesday afternoon, there was success for England Under-19s as they qualified for the elite stage of the qualification process for the European Championships at their age level.

Needing a point from their final game in a four-team tournament, the young England side beat Switzerland 1-0 in Slovenia.

Chelsea goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney was one of the heroes, making two superb saves in the second half, the second in the dying seconds. Noel Blake’s side took the lead in the first half after a succession of chances, Derby County’s Mason Bennett the scorer, and then defended stoutly after the break.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and John Swift started in the midfield with Lewis Baker replacing Loftus-Cheek on the hour.

A friendly Under-20 tournament in the Netherlands, featuring Tomas Kalas in a Czech Republic side, ended with Germany top after a 1-1 draw in the final game against the Czechs, who were runners-up.

Kalas played the whole of that match having captained the side and scored in an opening win over the host nation, and come on after 74 minutes of a 0-0 draw with Turkey in the second match.

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