The final day of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers is finally here. The UEFA World Cup Qualifiers will end this Tuesday with several up for grabs. And on early Wednesday night, both the CONMEBOL and the CONCACAF Qualifiers will play out their final week.
As it has been the trend throughout recent days, several Manchester United players got involved. Read on to find out how they did representing their respective countries.
UEFA World Cup Qualifiers: Belgium vs Cyprus
Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku were both part of the squad for Belgium’s final two games in the World Cup Qualifiers. However, the former missed the game due to an injury, and the latter started the game against Cyprus on the bench. Both moves made sense, though, as Belgium were already qualified for the tournament next year.
Lukaku came off the bench in the 66th minute following Thomas Meunier’s injury, and wasted no time to make an impact. The powerful striker netted Belgium’s fourth goal in the 78th minute, and finished with two shots, both on target. Lukaku ended the World Cup Qualifiers as Belgium’s top scorer with 10 goals in seven appearances.
Furthermore, Lukaku showed he is fir and ready for the weekend’s clash against Liverpool. And that is music into Manchester United’s ears. They need their star striker to secure another win after the international break.
UEFA World Cup Qualifiers: Netherlands vs Sweden
Daley Blind and Victor Lindelöf both started in a pivotal match for both countries. Sweden had the edge, though. The Netherlands needed a seven-goal win in order to clinch a playoff berth. A lesser win, a draw, or a loss would eliminate them, so the Dutch team had a tough task in front of them.
Blind on an unusual role as a holding midfielder, but completed a good performance dictating the tempo in midfield. He finished with two key passes, one accurate cross, 85% of passing accuracy, three tackles and two interceptions. But most importantly, Jose Mourinho should consider Blind as a holding midfielder. He could eventually become a long-term alternative for a defensive-minded presence in midfield.
On the other hand, Lindelöf will likely want to forget this game as soon as possible. The former Benfica defender was Sweden’s worst player, and committed a penalty early in the first half. Lindelöf registered 14 clearances, but that was not impressive at all. The Netherlands attacked all game long, and Lindelöf simply did what he had to do at the back.
Sweden finished in second place and secured a berth in the World Cup playoffs. Meanwhile, the Netherlands have been eliminated from the tournament. They should immediately shift their focus to the 2020 EURO and the 2022 World Cup.
CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers: Ecuador vs Argentina
Sergio Romero will start between the posts for Argentina, as La Albiceleste need the three points to secure a World Cup berth. A draw would force them to wait for other results, while a loss would automatically eliminate them.
Despite conceding an early goal in the first minute, Argentina got the job done and a hat-trick from Lionel Messi granted them a World Cup ticket. The goalkeeper did not have a lot of blame on the goal he conceded, and ended doing a good job the rest of the way.
On the other hand, Antonio Valencia was not be available for Ecuador. The right-back picked up a yellow card against Chile, and missed out on this pivotal match.