Croatia and Russia warmed up in style for forthcoming U21 qualifiers with excellent results.
Croatia and Russia warmed up in style for their forthcoming qualifiers with excellent results while Poland suffered a surprise defeat on a busy night of Under-21 friendly international action.
Result of the night
The Croatians, the Group 8 leaders, achieved the result of the evening by winning 3-0 in England. Goran Ljubojevic was the hero for the visitors scoring a goal in each half to stun the home crowd in London. Left-back Marijan Buljat rounded off the scoring with a cheeky chip in added time. To make matters worse for England, who are third in Group 7, Arsenal FC winger Jermaine Pennant was sent off on the hour for violent conduct. Portugal, one place ahead of England in Group 7, enjoyed a 1-0 home win against Belarus in Aveiro, courtesy of Candido Costa's 79th-minute goal.
In Moscow, Group 10's second-placed team Russia fought back from a one-goal deficit to defeat their counterparts from Group 5, Germany. Mike Hanke had connected with a Thomas Hitzlsperger cross to open the scoring for the Germans in the 17th minute but Roman Adamov and Spartak Gogniyev took advantage of some German lapses to win it for the hosts in the second half.
The Republic of Ireland may be languishing in fourth place in Group 10 but they stunned Group 4 leaders Poland in Gdansk. A hat-trick from Stephen Elliot, and further strikers from John O'Flynn and Wes Hoolahan silenced the home supporters. Pavel Addott scored the Polish consolation.
Scotland did not fare so well on their travels, going down 3-1 to Group 2's second-placed team Norway in Skien. Although Simon Lynch put the Scots, lying third in Group 5, in front, Norwegian substitute Morten Pedersen struck twice after the break before Espen Hoff made the result safe for the home side with a late winner.
In the evening's other games, Turkey and Italy enjoyed 1-0 wins against Moldova and Austria respectively.