U21 pair taste victory


Edimilson Fernandes and Josh Cullen were both on the winning side in UEFA European U21 Championship qualifying on Friday.

Fernandes smashed in an unstoppable shot from 25 yards to complete Switzerland’s 3-0 victory over Kazakhstan in Biel.

The Swiss team’s victory pulled them level with Group 9 leaders England, albeit the West Ham United midfielder’s nation have played a game more than the Young Lions.

Switzerland travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina on Tuesday before completing their campaign with a trip to Norway on 7 October. England host Norway on Tuesday before traveling to Kazakhstan and welcoming Bosnia and Herzegovina next month.

Cullen’s Republic of Ireland beat Slovenia 2-0 in Dublin, with the on-loan Bradford City man completing the full 90 minutes in central midfield.

Former Hammer Sean Maguire, now a prolific scorer with League of Ireland title-chasers Cork City, appeared as a late substitute and netted Ireland’s second goal from the penalty spot.

Sitting fourth in Group 2, Ireland have two games to play, at home to Serbia on Tuesday and away to the same opposition in October.

Both Switzerland and Ireland can still finish second in their group and qualify for the Play-Offs, from which two countries will emerge to reach the final tournament in Poland next summer.

Farther afield, Everton loanee Enner Valencia was part of the Ecuador team beaten 3-0 at home by Brazil in South American 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying overnight on Thursday.