There were mixed emotions for our players in international duty on Tuesday night.
No fewer than five of our first-team squad were in World Cup qualifier action, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles represented England Under-21s. Here’s how they got on:
Olivier Giroud, Alexandre Lacazette
France 2-1 Belarus
Olivier Giroud became France’s joint-seventh top goalscorer as he helped France to secure their place at next summer’s World Cup with a win over Belarus in Saint-Denis. After Antoine Griezmann had fired the hosts in front, Giroud charged through to double Les Bleus’ advantage just after the half-hour mark. Anton Saroka did pull one back but the three points ensured France finished top of Group A, qualifying for their sixth successive World Cup in the process. Giroud played the entirety of the game, with Alexandre Lacazette an unused sub.
Peru 1-1 Colombia
David Ospina and Colombia will play at their second successive World Cup after securing a 1-1 draw against Peru, who face a play-off against New Zealand to determine whether they will feature in Russian next summer. James Rodrgieuz gave the visitors a second-half lead in Lima and, although Ospina was beaten by Paolo Guerrero’s 76th-minute free-kick, the point was enough for Colombia.
Portugal 2-0 Switzerland
Granit Xhaka could still join Giroud, Lacazette and Ospina in Russia next summer - but his Switzerland team will have to qualify through the European play-off round after losing their decisive qualifier in Portugal. A draw would have seen Xhaka and co qualify but a Johan Djourou own goal, plus one from Andre Silva, saw the European champions go through as Group B winners.
Estonia 1-2 Bosnia-Herzegovina
Sead Kolasinac played the first half in Tallinn as Bosnia-Herzegovina’s World Cup dreams were dashed despite them finishing Group H with a win in Estonia. Izet Hajrovic scored either side of Ilja Antonov’s equaliser to give the visitors three points, but Greece’s home win over Gibraltar meant it wasn’t enough to reach the play-off round.
Brazil 3-0 Chile
Copa America winners in 2015 and 2016 - but Alexis and Chile won’t be at next summer’s World Cup. Paulinho opened the scoring before Gabriel Jesus added a second-half double to consign La Roja to defeat in Sao Paulo, a result that saw Chile fail to finish in the top five qualifying spots in South America as a consequence of other results. Alexis played the full 90 minutes.
Andorra Under-21s 0-1 England Under-21s
Ainsley Maitland-Niles started and played 76 minutes to help England Under-21s to a 1-0 win in Andorra, a result which saw the visitors stretch their advantage at the top of their UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifying group to four points. Tom Davies scored the only goal.
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