ANDORRA LA VELLA: Jack Grealish scored his first goal for his country and England’s fifth in the comfortable 5-0 World Cup win away to Andorra in the Estadi Nacional.

Further victory over Hungary at Wembley will Tuesday will push manager Gareth Southgate and his team ever closer to ultimate success in European qualifying Group I down the road to the finals in Qatar in November and December next year.

England dropped their first points in qualifying when they had drawn in Poland in their previous game but there was no threat of anything other than a very comfortable win against the country ranked 156th in the FIFA rankings.

England rested big guns such as captain Harry Kane but, with Phil Foden outstanding, they had far too much for Andorra and quickly established their superiority.

Foden played in Jadon Sancho to set up Ben Chilwell for his first England goal after 17 minutes, then the Manchester City youngster delivered the perfect pass for Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka to add a second five minutes before the break.

Kane rested

Tammy Abraham was desperate to get on the scoresheet after his good form with Roma won him a recall, then a start with Kane on the bench and Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin injured, and he was on the mark when he stole on to Sancho’s cross to score on the hour.

James Ward-Prowse added England’s fourth late on, scoring from a rebound after his penalty was saved by Andorra keeper Josep Gomes, before Grealish – Manchester City’s £100m record signing – produced a solo effort for his first international goal from England keeper Sam Johnstone’s superb throw.

This was the first time that a senior England’s men’s international had been refereed by a woman in Ukraine’s Kateryna Monzul. Fellow Ukrainians Maryna Striletska and Svitlana Grushko were the assistant referees.

The match went despite a stadium fire on Friday which destroyed the television gantry and VAR equipment.

Scotland win

Scotland twice came from behind to beat Israel in stoppage time and Stephen Kenny gained his first competitive win as Republic of Ireland boss but Northern Ireland could not keep Switzerland at bay.

Scott McTominay’s stoppage-time winner secured Scotland a dramatic 3-2 World Cup qualifying victory over Israel at a soggy Hampden Park.

On a day when relaxed Covid restrictions meant a capacity crowd of around 50,000, Israeli striker Eran Zahavi dampened down expectations after less than five minutes when he curled in a free-kick.

Midfielder John McGinn levelled in the 29th minute with a drive but Munas Dabbur restored Israel’s lead two minutes later after the home side failed to defend a set-piece.

Lyndon Dykes had a penalty saved by keeper Ofir Marciano just before the interval but the striker made up for a poor effort early in the second half with a VAR-awarded goal.

Deep into six added minutes of a breathless encounter, McTominay bundled in a McGinn corner and bedlam ensued.

Steve Clarke’s side remain in second place in Group F on 14 points behind runaway leaders Denmark ahead of a trip to the Faroe Islands on Tuesday where three points will be expected in the quest for a play-off spot.

Ireland, too

Callum Robinson ended a week of controversy with a decisive double as the Republic of Ireland won a competitive match for the first time under manager Stephen Kenny in Azerbaijan.

Robinson hit the headlines in the run-up to the game after revealing he had chosen not to be vaccinated against Covid-19 despite twice contracting the virus, but provided the perfect response to the criticism he received as a result with two first-half goals to set the stage for a 3-0 World Cup qualifying win in Baku.

The success at the Baki Olimpiya Stadium, which was rounded off by substitute Chiedozie Ogbene’s late header, was Ireland’s first in a meaningful fixture since they beat Gibraltar 2-0 in June 2019, some 16 attempts ago, and belatedly launched their Group A campaign after three defeats and two draws.

There was a sense of deja vu for Northern Ireland as a controversial refereeing decision contributed to a pivotal World Cup qualifying defeat by Switzerland.

A depleted Northern Ireland stood up to early pressure, but after Jamal Lewis was shown an extremely harsh second yellow card for taking too long over a throw-in, they cracked as goals from Steven Zuber and Christian Fassnacht sealed a 2-0 loss that all but ends hopes of reaching Qatar next year.

Northern Ireland had done their best to put to bed memories of four years ago, when Ricardo Rodriguez’s penalty for a disputed handball sent Switzerland to the 2018 World Cup at their expense, but they would come flooding back for the 400 travelling fans and all those watching at home.

While this defeat does not definitively end Northern Ireland’s chances of finishing second in Group C and reaching the play-offs, with a six-point deficit to Switzerland and only three games left to play, it may as well do.