International Round-Up

Saturday 12 October 2013 10:32

Philippe Senderos and Pajtim Kasami were celebrating as the final whistle blew in Tirana as Switzerland confirmed their place at the World Cup with a 2-1 victory over Albania.

The Whites' Swiss pair were both unused substitutes as goals from Granit Xhaka and Michael Lang gave Ottmar Hitzfeld's side an unassailable five-point lead in Group E to clinch a place in Brazil 2014.

A late Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal kept Alexander Kačaniklić's Sweden in pole position for a Play-Off in Group C. With Germany having already qualified, a victory over Austria was crucial to keep Sweden ahead of their rivals. Kaca started and played an important role in the comeback as the Swedes won 2-1 in Stockholm to go three points clear in second place.

Greece continued their pursuit of group leaders Bosnia-Herzegovnia as Giorgos Karagounis appeared in the 76th minute to close out a 1-0 home triumph over Slovakia after Martin Skrtel's own goal. The Euro 2004 winners are level on points at the summit of Group G but have a vastly inferior goal difference, meaning a Play-Off awaits unless the leaders slip up in the final round of matches.

Elsad Zverotić played 90 minutes at Wembley as Montenegro suffered a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Roy Hodgson's England to end their chances of progression, and a hat-trick from Slovenia's Milivoje Novakovic consigned Brede Hangeland's Norway to a 3-0 loss, leaving the Norweigan's Play-Off hopes hanging by a thread.

Already-qualified Costa Rica were beaten by neighbours Honduras, who secured their spot in Brazil with a 1-0 victory, with Bryan Ruiz playing 61 minutes and Fernando Amorebieta came through 90 minutes as Venezuela's fate was confirmed in a 1-1 draw with Paraguay, with both teams missing out on the South American qualification places.

Neil Etheridge kept goal as the Philippines were stunned in a 2-1 defeat to Chinese Taipei in their Peace Cup opener, and Adel Taarabt made his return to international football as a second-half substitute as Morocco were held to a 1-1 draw on home soil by South Africa in a friendly on Friday.

In Under-21 action, Lasse Vigen Christensen was involved for 90 minutes as Denmark came from two goals behind to draw with Slovenia, and Tromso loanee Josh Pritchard played the full match with Wales beating Lithuania 2-0.

Noe Baba and Muamer Tankovic went head to head as Republic of Ireland Under-19s visited their Sweden counterparts on Saturday, with the defender helping to keep his Fulham colleague off the scoresheet as Ireland secured a 1-0 victory in the UEFA Championship Qualifier. The pair each played 90 minutes, whilst winger Dean O’Halloran came on shortly after the break.

Also at the weekend, Emerson Hyndman was in action as United States Under-18s defeated Poland 2-0.