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Kepa wondersave, Emerson assist highlight Euro 2020 qualifying wins for Spain, Italy

Chelsea players in international action on Thursday

Spain head coach Robert Moreno may claim there is competition for the starting goalkeeper position, but Kepa Arrizabalaga has now started four Euro 2020 qualifiers in a row ahead of David De Gea and Pau López — all four wins — including last night’s top of Group F showdown in Bucharest against free-scoring Romania.

Kepa may not have managed to keep a third clean sheet during that streak, but he preserved the hard-fought 2-1 victory with an excellent point-blank stop — with his feet, even! — in the dying moments as 10-man Spain hung on for dear life. They had taken a 2-0 lead early in the second half, but hosts Romania stormed back as they looked to keep in contention for the second spot in Group F.

Earlier in the day, Jorginho and Emerson both started and played the full game for Italy who, like Spain, had their perfect qualification record to this point tested.

Hosts Armenia had taken the early lead against the Azzurri, but Emerson’s excellent 1-v-1 skill and pinpoint cross put the equalizer on Andrea Belotti’s plate. Italy would go on to add two more in the second half, after Armenia were reduced to ten men, to collect all three points and stay ahead of Finland at the top of Group J.

Joining Spain and Italy in win were Andreas Christensen’s Denmark, who took care of business against Gibraltar, 6-0. The Chelsea center back partnered Simon Kjær on what was always going to be a rather easy day for the second placed Danes in Group D.

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