Several Manchester United players featured during the World Cup Qualifiers on Thursday, but the action is far from over. Other first-team members have also seen action on Friday. For instance, Sergio Romero and Antonio Valencia starred on the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers on Friday early morning. Eric Bailly will feature for Ivory CoastAnd several other Red Devils should see action during the UEFA World Cup Qualifiers as well.
Read on to find out how they did representing their respective countries.
CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers: Argentina vs Peru
Sergio Romero started between the posts for Argentina in their pivotal CONMEBOL Qualifiers match against Peru. And while he did not have a lot of work – registering only one save – La Albiceleste failed to do what they should have done. And thanks to their third straight draw, now they are out of the qualification zone with only one game left on the schedule.
Romero is likely to start in Argentina’s next game against Ecuador on October 10. Argentina need to win – and wait for other results – if they want to make it to Russia next year. This is clearly not the outcome they expected, especially considering the amount of talent they have on the squad.
CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers: Chile vs Ecuador
Antonio Valencia started at right back for Los Amarillos in a key CONMEBOL contest against Chile. Ecuador needed to win to keep their World Cup dreams alive, but they could not clinch the objective. Their 1-2 loss against La Roja meant they won’t be playing on Russian soil next year.
The veteran right back did what he could to push Ecuador to the top, but it was not enough. He finished with two tackles, one interception and one clearance, as well as three successful dribbles, seven crosses, and two key passes. He represented a constant threat on the right side of the ball, but the rest of the team did not help.
To make things worst for him, Valencia received a yellow card so he will not play in Ecuador’s next game against Argentina. So there is a chance he gets back to Manchester United’s facilities sooner than expected.
CAF World Cup Qualifiers: Mali vs Ivory Coast
Eric Bailly once again started for Ivory Coast in a pivotal CAF Qualifying match. And once again the team failed to deliver when it mattered the most.
The cultured centre-back led Ivory Coast’s defensive line, but they had to settle for a scoreless draw against Mali away. Bailly contributed with five clearances, two interceptions, two tackles, and one blocked shot. So he did what he could to, at least, keep the team alive in a tough contest on the road.
Ivory Coast sit at the top of the standings with eight points, although Morocco could take over the top spot if they win against Gabon. Either way, everything will be decided in the final match of the Group Stage.
UEFA World Cup Qualifiers: Austria vs Serbia
Serbia had their biggest game in quite a while this Friday. A win against Austria on the road would have sent them to the 2018 World Cup, but they were not up to the task. Serbia looked sluggish and inaccurate, and at times they were overmatched by a talented Austrian side. And as a result, Serbia lost 2-3. They clinched a playoff berth, but will decide their fate next week.
One positive aspect is that Nemanja Matic was one of the best players for Serbia in this game. The holding midfielder was a constant presence on both ends of the pitch, and scored his first goal of the current qualifying campaign with a shot from close range following a rebound. Matic finished the game with one shot on target, two dribbles, three clearances, two tackles, and a 91% of accuracy on his passing.
Serbia have everything on their favour to reach the World Cup, though. If they win their upcoming match against Georgia this next Monday, they will return to the World Cup after missing out on 2014.
UEFA World Cup Qualifiers: Italy vs FYR Macedonia
Italy was one of the biggest disappointments of the qualifying campaign this week. The Italian side needed to win to put pressure on Spain, but failed miserably on their attempt and only drew 1-1 against FYR Macedonia. It was a game they should have won, but looked quite bad and were not up to the standards required.
Matteo Darmian started as a left midfielder on a 3-4-3 system, but did not have much of an impact on the game. The 27-year-old full-back finished with four crosses (none accurate), two interceptions, and five tackles. Italy have nothing to play for in their final game against Albania next Monday. They can’t catch Spain, and already clinched a playoff berth.
UEFA World Cup Qualifiers: Spain vs Albania
Spain needed to win against Albania to secure their World Cup berth, and that is exactly what they did. La Furia Roja netted three quick goals before the 30th minute mark, and that was enough to lift them to a 3-0 win that gave them a place on next year’s tournament.
David De Gea started between the posts and did not have a lot of work in this match. He only registered two saves and one high claim during the entire match. Considering Spain have nothing to play for in their next match against Israel, it would not be surprising to see De Gea getting some rest.