Wins for Wales and Northern Ireland – Defeat for Scotland
It’s international break which means all eyes turn to the home nations rather than the Premier League sides, and so far, it’s been mostly positive news.
With the goal next summer’s European Championships in France, Wales kick-started the weekend as they took on Cyprus away from home on Friday evening.
Chris Coleman‘s side went into the game on 14 points from six games knowing that a win would put them on the brink of qualification for the first time in over half a century.
The game looked like it was ending in a draw until Gareth Bale jumped highest and thundered a header past the ‘keeper in the 82nd minute to give the Welsh all three points.
Wales are now top of their group on 17 points and know that a win tomorrow will confirm their status for next summer’s tournament.
Another team on the brink of qualifying is Northern Ireland.
They took on Faroe Islands yesterday and ran out 3-1 victors which put them top of their group on 16 points, one ahead of second-placed Romania.
Michael O’Neill‘s men play again on Monday and they know if they win that game, they will be joining Wales in France next summer.
Gareth McAuley scored a brace for NI, with Kyle Lafferty adding the third.
Bad News for Scotland
Sadly it wasn’t all positive news however as Scotland lost 1-0 away to Georgia all-but ending their hopes of qualifying for next year’s tournament.
Gordon Strachan‘s side are sitting third in their group after the loss yesterday, three points behind leaders Poland and two behind second-placed Germany.
The Scots take on Germany next and they know that it’s a must-win game if they have any hope of securing a place for next year’s competition.
Valeri Qazaishvili scored the only goal of the game leaving Scotland empty-handed.
All eyes turn to England this evening as they take on minnows San Marino as they look to continue their 100% record in the group stages.
Roy Hodgson has already confirmed the likes of John Stones, Jonjo Shelvey and Jamie Vardy will be starting, and a big win is expected against a side of part-time footballers.
Kick-off is 5pm this evening.
Written by Alex Batt – @AlexBatt