Gunners on International Duty: Roundup of 2014 World Cup Qualifiers
As the fans wait slowly for this weekend’s fixture against Sunderland, there was the business of international football to deal with and the Gunners had their fair share of ambassadors that represented their nations. Here’s a quick roundup of Gunners on international duty.
Faroe Islands 0 Germany 3 (Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker)
The second best nation in the world according to the latest FIFA rankings showed their dominance over minnows, Faroe Islands, as Joachim Low’s men ran out as comfortable winners to record their seventh victory in eight games, making them clear winners of their group with Sweden trailing with five points.
After Julian Draxler and Miroslav Klose smashed the woodwork, the opening goal came from Per Mertesacker, as he sidefooted a flick from Jerome Boateng following a corner from Mesut Ozil. Bayern’s Young Mueller baby was tripped in the box and Ozil stepped up to send the goalie the wrong way. Mueller sealed the points with a third goal, a fierce that gave the goalie no choice.
Italy 2 Czech Republic 1 (Tomas Rosicky)
This defeat has ruled out Czech’s chances of featuring in the 2014 World Cup, much to the disappointment of the coach, the fans, the players and of course, the nation’s captain, Tomas Rosicky, that is approaching his twilight years and this would have been his last major tournament.
The Italian’s were stunned when Tomas Rosicky instigated the attack by fashioning a chance for Petr Jiracek that raced on the left flank before crossing the ball for Kozak that met the ball with a neat scissors kick giving Gianluigi Buffon no chance in Hell. After Mario Balotelli spurned a boatload of chances, Italy finally equalized when Giorgio Chiellini rose the highest to nod Andrea Pirlo’s corner home.
The game clincher arrived when Balotelli was scythed down in the box, giving the ref no chance but to point to the spot. The Mohican maverick picked himself up and slotted his effort past Petr Cech in goal. This also meant that Balotelli has taken 25 penalties in his feldgling career and has scored them all.
Wales 0 Serbia 3 (Aaron Ramsey)
The much-awaited return of the world’s most expensive footballer wasn’t even enough as the Welsh dragons were on the end of some spanking in front of their home fans against Serbia. The fans even cried out for Chris Coleman to be sacked as his Welsh boys are at the bottom of their group after this resounding loss.
Filip Dordevic opened the scoring after he headed an Aleksandr Kolarov cross home. The Manchester City fullback turned from provider to scorer when he fired a 25-yard strike with that magical left foot of his. Lazar Markovic put the game beyond doubt when Boaz Myhill spilled a shot from Dusan Tadic and the striker reacted swiftly to slot in the rebound.
Belarus 2 France 4 (Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and Bacary Sagna)
For those that didn’t know, Didier Deschamps France side had actually been on a scoring drought as they had failed to register a goal in five games in a row but that streak was ended in the 4-2 victory over Belarus. Their play-off spot was secured after the boring stalemate with Georgia but it was good to see my favorite national soccer team after the Super Eagles get in on the goalscoring act once again.
Egor Filipenko gave the hosts a surprise lead after French goalie Hugo Lloris flapped at a corner kick. The French got their equalizer when Olivier Giroud sent an inch-perfect pass to Franck Ribery in the box and he was hacked down by the Belarussian goalie, Sergio Veremko. Ribery took responsibility from 12 yards and dispatched his shot past Veremko to level the tie.
Shortly after the break Timofei Kalachev put Belarus ahead again with a simple shot that beat Lloris on his near post and for a keeper of his quality, he could have done better. Ribery was at it again as he waltzed past the defenders before teeing up Mathieu Valbuena that leveled the contest with a close tap in.
The French got the lead for the first time when substitute Samir Nasri made one of his trademark jinking runs before firing a shot past a crowded defense to make it 3-2. The game was put beyond doubt when Paul Pogba pounced on a loose ball to score his first international goal.
Ukraine 0 England 0 (Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere)
There was so much said in the buildup to this game but after an intense battle, both nations shared the spoils at the end of 90 minutes. The chances were few and far between but in the end, a draw was justifiable result.
Now that the international break is over, fans can now look forward to Mesut Ozil’s potential debut this weekend.
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