A Quick Roundup of Gunners on International Duty
The last international break came upon us last night with national team managers having one final glimpse at a couple of players before they send their 23-man list for the soccer fiesta in Brazil this summer. Arsenal like every other renowned European club had its contingent representing their respective nations and this article is centered on the performances of the Gunners’ ambassadors in yesterday’s friendlies.
Poland 0 Scotland 1
The goalkeeping duo of Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski were called up for the home fixture against Scotland but like how things are at Arsenal, Fabianski watched from the bench as Szczesny played all 90 minutes for his nation.
The only goal of the game arrived when Celtic’s captain, Scott Brown, blasted a thunderous drive that gave Szczesny no chance in Hell. The victory has extended the unbeaten run for Gordon Strachan’s side to five games.
France 2 Netherlands 0
Didier Deschamps called Arsenal’s French Legionnaires in the forms of Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and Bacary Sagna. Kos the Boss would have partnered with Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane but a groin injury paved the way for Eliaquim Mangala to stake a claim for a first team berth.
Koscielny’s injury would make Arsenal fans sweat as his services are needed for the vital FA Cup quarterfinals clash with Everton this weekend.
From an Arsenal perspective, there was some interest in transfer target, Antoine Griezmann, that went on to have a great game. He tore the Oranje defense apart before latching a cross to Karim Benzema whose header was cleared off the line by Ron Vlaar.
Robin van Persie almost gave the visitors the lead with a half volley but Hugo Lloris came to his nations rescue. The match opener arrived when Blaise Matuidi sent a defense splitting pass to Benzema and the fleet-footed forward capitalised on the Dutch defense lacked of mobility to score his 19th goal for his country. Matuidi turned from provider to scorer when he responded superbly to Mathieu Valbuena’s cross to make it two goals to the good.
Germany 1 Chile 0
Joachim Loew deemed it fit to call up Arsenal’s German Machines, Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil. Ozil has been on the spotlight for all the wrong reasons following his poor run of form in recent games but he showed his class as he created the match – winning assist for Mario Gotze after just 16 minutes.
The Arsenal playmaker, surrounded by three Chilean defenders, coolly turned in the penalty area before rolling the ball to Mario Gotze to grab the only goal in Stuttgart. Late on, Ozil was replaced by some bloke called Ginter.
Czech Republic 2 Norway 2
Tomas Rosicky celebrated his new contract with a lovely goal for his nation but his early strike was canceled out by Tarik Elyounoussi. West Brom’s Matej Vydra gave the Czechs the lead again but Norway’s Morten Gamst Pedersen levelled the contest for the visitors.
Anytime I think of Pedersen, that his epic dive for Blackburn at the Emirates comes to my mind. It was such a despicable yet hilarious moment in the game.
England 1 Denmark 0
Liverpool reaped the rewards of being a team in a rich vein of form as a considerable chunk of their squad started the home clash against Denmark. With the Three Lions losing their last two home games against Chile and Germany, all eyes were on England to see if they’d have a hat-trick of defeats so that the doomsday keyword warriors would have been in full force.
Unfortunately for Team Doomsday, Jack Wilshere started as the Three Lions dominated the game and finally got their rewards when Adam Lallana swing a cross that was headed home by Daniel Sturridge.
Spain 1 Italy 0
It was a day to remember as Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa made his debut for La Furia Roja against Italy for a Euro 2012 final rematch.
Spain opened their tally for the evening as Pedro latches onto a loose ball inside the box before thumping his effort into the bottom corner. Poor from Buffon, however, who got hands on it.
With Nacho Monreal out injured, Santi Cazorla was called up but he made his appearance with just five minutes to go when he replaced Pedro. Within moments of coming into the pitch, Silva created a chance for Cazorla but his shooting was erratic and that chance went begging.
With no more international football, it’s time to concentrate on the run-in for the title but it’s really sad to know about Koscielny and I really hope he gets fit sooner rather than later.