The international break tends to be dreaded and a real dull affair, but with the World Cup qualifiers coming to a climax, it’s been quite an eventful week of football despite the lack of Premier League action.
It’s been a mixed week for several of our star men however. Here’s how EIGHT of our very own have got on this week with their countries:
Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia)
Mitrovic has bagged six goals in qualifying for his country and although he didn’t get the winner on Monday night, he laid on the assist for their winning goal against Georgia.
The win saw them top their group, meaning we will definitely be seeing the Newcastle striker at next summer’s World Cup!
Ivanovic to Mitrovic to Prijovic to all of us going crazy. pic.twitter.com/QyMoYogPv9
— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) October 9, 2017
Ciaran Clark & Rob Elliot (Republic of Ireland)
Good news for the pair, with Ciaran Clark putting in a mammoth display to help his side to a 1-0 win in Wales on Monday night (Elliot was on the bench).
The win saw them leapfrog Wales at the death, seeing them finish in 2nd place (behind Mitrovic’s Serbia), meaning they’ll both be playing in next summer’s tournament IF they now win their World Cup play-off match.
DeAndre Yedlin (USA)
Things aren’t so good for fellow NUFC defender DeAndre Yedlin. Following a shock 2-1 defeat to Trinidad & Tobago last night, the USA amazingly failed to qualify for the World Cup – meaning we won’t be seeing our lightning quick full-back in Russia next year.
A real shame for Yedlin given he’s been one of the USA’s top performers in qualifying.
Matt Ritchie (Scotland)
Ritchie had to pull out from Gordon Strachan’s squad following the 1-1 draw with Liverpool, and this proved to just be the start of the bad news for the winger. Scotland’s play off place for the World Cup finals would have been confirmed with a win in Slovenia last week, but they could only manage a 2-2 draw.
Christian Atsu (Ghana)
Like Ritchie, Atsu was unable to play for his country after withdrawing as a precaution. The Black Stars suffered a goalless draw with Uganda last week, meaning they are 4 points behind Egypt with just one game to play and unable to now qualify.
Chancel Mbemba (DR Congo)
Mbemba played in central midfield once again for DR Congo and helped keep his sides World Cup dream alive with a 2-1 win over Libya this week. With one game remaining, DR Congo are now 3 points behind Tunisia in Group A, meaning Mbemba will have to hope his side beat Guinea and Tunisia lose to Libya if they are to qualify on goal difference. It’s looking unlikely, but there’s still a chance for Chancel!
Matz Sels (Belgium)
Currently on-loan at Anderlecht but still on NUFC’s books, Sels was an unused substitute in Belgium’s 4-3 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina and a 4-0 win over Cyprus – two wins that confirmed their place in the 2018 World Cup.
As it stands, Aleksandar Mitrovic is the only Newcastle United player in the current squad guaranteed to play in next summer’s World Cup. Clark and Elliot are in with a chance, whilst Chancel Mbemba’s hopes are looking less than likely. Sels could well be included Belgium’s squad, but I’m not expecting to see him feature with Thibaut Courtois a main stay for them in goal.
Disappointing for Yedlin, Ritchie and Atsu, but a consolation being they’ll all gain a much needed break ahead of the 2018/19 Premier League season next year.