Decisive night for international trio
19 November 2013|Tottenham Hotspur
Gylfi Sigurdsson, Hugo Lloris and Vlad Chiriches all have a date with destiny tonight – with a place at next summer’s World Cup in Brazil potentially just 90 minutes away.
Of our three lads involved in the qualification play-off second legs this week, Gylfi is in the most advantageous position after his Iceland side held Croatia to a goalless draw in Friday’s first leg despite playing the majority of the second half with 10 men.
Gylfi and his fellow countrymen now visit Croatia this evening, knowing victory by any margin will see them qualify.
It’s not so straightforward for Hugo and Vlad, however. Ukraine are on the verge of causing an upset as they head into tonight’s play-off second leg with a 2-0 lead over Hugo's France. But with home advantage bound to aid Hugo’s side, our goalkeeper and his compatriots will be giving it everything as they look to claw their way back into the contest in a bid to win a coveted place at the 2014 tournament finals.
Central defender Vlad – the captain of Romania – will be hoping his nation can also take advantage of being at home in tonight’s second leg, as they seek to overturn a 3-1 deficit from their first leg meeting with Greece. Vlad missed the first leg due to the nose injury he sustained in our Premier League defeat to Newcastle United.
The lads will be hoping to join full-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto at next summer’s World Cup, Benoit having secured qualification with Cameroon over the weekend with a 4-1 second leg victory over Tunisia after a goalless first encounter. Our defender, currently on loan with Queens Park Rangers, played the full 90 minutes of Sunday’s crucial victory, which ensured his nation’s place on the plane to Brazil.
The action for our lads got underway on Monday lunchtime, with Milos Veljkovic having played 90 minutes for Serbia Under-19s in their 1-0 Euro qualifier victory against Austria. Milos was also involved as his nation beat Finland 1-0 on Friday and defeated Kazakhstan 3-0 last Wednesday.
Tonight also sees England renew their rivalry with Germany at Wembley in the second of two friendly games under the Arch. Kyle Walker and Andros Townsend are set to start, with Jermain Defoe also ready and raring to go if turned to.
Elsewhere, Nacer Chadli, Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen are in Belgium’s squad as they prepare to host Japan in a friendly tonight, looking to return to winning ways after their 2-0 defeat to Colombia last week.
Paulinho will also be in friendly action this evening as Brazil face Chile. Erik Lamela, meanwhile, stepped off the bench for Argentina in their 2-0 friendly win over Bosnia, which took place in the early hours of Tuesday morning, UK time.
We would like to wish all our lads involved in international matches the very best of luck.