Tottenham dealt injury scare, underrated player shines and what Son did for South Korea
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Tottenham Hotspur have plenty of players away for international duty this week, with almost 30 players from all levels of the club - youth age groups to senior - away with their countries currently.
While for some such as Harry Kane it is a case of friendly games (Switzerland, then Ivory Coast) and the competition to make World Cup squads, for others it has been vital World Cup play-off eliminators.
Here’s a rundown of the need-to-know action that has occurred so far as Spurs fans eagerly await the safe return of their star players ahead of hosting Newcastle United a week on Sunday.
The Sweden winger played all 120 minutes of his country’s World Cup play-off 1-0 win against the Czech Republic on Thursday evening.
However the former Juventus man was pictured with a heavy bruise close to his eye during the game.That was the result of a 55th minute clash of heads with opposition defender David Zima, and afterwards the Spurs man gave his take on the facial injury.
“It started to spin for a few seconds and I got a little worried. I thought it was the head, but then it turned out well. I was just trying to get angry to get energy from it,” he told local media.
Kulusevski and Sweden now head to Poland for the final round of play-off qualifiers.
Joe Rodon and Ben Davies
The two Welsh defenders played key roles as Rob Page’s Wales side took a giant step towards World Cup 2022 qualification.Of course, former Spurs winger Gareth Bale took all the headlines, and rightly so after two more wondrous goals from the Real Madrid forward, who had to play through a groin injury later on in the game.
But Joe Rodon also gained plenty of plaudits for a stout defensive display at the back as he, Ben Davies and Ethan Ampadu played in a back three, keeping Marko Arnautovic and co away from goal. Davies had a good game too though was unlucky to see Marcel Sabitzer’s effort from outside the box deflect off him and go into the goal on 64 minutes.
Wales now have a friendly game against the Czech Republic on Tuesday, ahead of a final World Cup play-off game at home in Cardiff - against Scotland or Ukraine - in June.
Spurs’ leading Premier League scorer was part of a 2-0 win over Iran in World Cup qualifying on Thursday. And Son followed up his goals against West Ham with the opener on 45 minutes.
The 29-year-old winger captained his country and South Korea now edge past Iran into top spot of Group A of the third round of Asia qualifying, though both sides have already qualified for World Cup 2022.
Alfie Devine and Dane Scarlett
Dane Scarlett scored as England U19s beat Republic of Ireland U19s 3-1 on Wednesday at Walsall’s Bescot Stadium. Carney Chukwuemeka hit two goals as the Young Lions secured victory, with Alfie Devine starting in midfield for Ian Foster’s side.
The all-action central midfielder played for Uruguay on Thursday evening as Peru were beaten 1-0.
That important result keeps Uruguay in the fourth automatic qualifying spot for the World Cup in South American qualifying.
Davinson Sanchez was an unused substitute for Colombia on the same evening in his country’s 3-0 win over Bolivia.