Here’s Geek God Review’s football wrap-up for this week from BBC’s report on the opening shocker in Group B World Cup Qualifiers as Switzerland beats the continental champs Portugal to Wesley Sneijder being the hero of the Sweden-Netherlands match as he salvaged a draw.
Robbie Brady expected to lift Ireland in World Cup Qualifiers
Martin O’Neill is confident emerging Republic of Ireland star Robbie Brady can help to fill the yawning chasm left by Robbie Keane’s retirement from international football.
The 24-year-old Norwich midfielder, who has operated as an emergency full-back for his country at times, scored Ireland’s Euro 2016 winner against Italy which booked their place in the last 16, and then shocked hosts France with a nerveless early penalty.
Manager O’Neill freely admits the task of filling Keane’s boots – he scored 68 times in 146 appearances for his country – is a daunting one, but he believes the likes of Brady and fellow youngster Jeff Hendrick can in part plug the gap.
He said: “Yes is the answer to your question, in short, he can. Do I think that Robbie could end up scoring the goals – or even a third of the goals – that Robbie Keane scored? I’m not so sure. He’d have to play a lot of international matches for that. *1
The Dutch Football crisis continues with Wesley Sneijder comment about its young players
Netherlands captain Wesley Sneijder confessed his disappointment after his side was beaten 2-1 at home by Greece in the final friendly before their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign kicks off.
Though the Dutch led through Georginio Wijnaldum’s scrappy opener, goals from Kostas Mitroglou and Giannis Gianniotas turned the game on its head.
And Sneijder, returning to the Netherlands side after missing its four-match unbeaten run, admitted this was not ideal preparation for a qualifying clash with Sweden on Tuesday.
“This is hard,” he told SBS6. “You want to take a good feeling to leave for Sweden.
“You know that the match against Greece is not for qualifying, but for the confidence.
“In both the first half and the second half we started well. After leading 1-0 we should have anticipated [a Greece response]. We have failed. Then we gave it away.”
The Netherlands is looking for a return to tournament football after failing to qualify for Euro 2016. *2
Switzerland beats UEFA champs Portugal in Group B World Cup Qualifiers opening shocker
Switzerland beat European champions Portugal 2-0 in their opening World Cup 2018 Group B qualifier on Tuesday.
Breel Embolo and Ahmed Mehmedi scored first-half goals for the hosts, who had Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka sent off in stoppage time.
Portugal were missing Cristiano Ronaldo, with the Real Madrid forward injured since July’s Euro 2016 final.
Beaten finalists France got their own campaign off to a slow start with a 0-0 Group A draw in Belarus. *3
Wesley Sneijder salvages draw vs Sweden 1-1 in Group A’s World Cup Qualifiers curtain-raiser
The Galatasaray midfielder scored the equalising goal for his nation as both sides kicked their World Cup campaign off with a draw
Wesley Sneijder reduced the pressure on Netherlands coach Danny Blind by salvaging a 1-1 draw for his side in Sweden in their opening World Cup qualifier in Group A.
Netherlands trailed at Solna’s Friends Arena but battled back and the captain’s goal spared the blushes of Blind, whose side failed to qualify for Euro 2016 and suffered a shock 2-1 friendly loss at home to Greece on Thursday.
The visitors had numerous chances in the first half but Davy Klaassen wasted two excellent opportunities and Netherlands fell behind just before half-time to a stunning goal. *4
France held to a draw by resolute Belarus in Group A opener
France were held to a 0-0 draw by Belarus as Didier Deschamps’ men started their World Cup qualifying campaign with a disappointing result at the Borisov Arena.
France, runners-up at this year’s European Championship, dominated the match but could find no way through with Olivier Giroud wasting their best opportunities.
Les Bleus struggled to break down their opponents and rarely threatened a stubborn Belarus rearguard. Paul Pogba and Giroud both tested Andrey Gorbunov while Nikolai Signiveich came close to giving the hosts the lead. *5
Wesley Sneijder not amused by the decision to disallow Bas Dost’s strike in match vs Sweden
The veteran midfielder was not amused by the decision to disallow Bas Dost’s strike to put the Oranje ahead, and believes the goal should have stood
Netherlands captain Wesley Sneijder felt a refereeing decision cost his team a deserved victory after they drew 1-1 in Sweden in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.
Bas Dost looked to have given Netherlands all three points in Solna in Group A’s curtain-raiser, only for referee Daniele Orsato to disallow the goal for a foul on defender Victor Lindelof.
Sneijder had earlier slotted in an equaliser for his side after Kevin Strootman’s lax play led to a superb Marcus Berg lob, but the skipper was dissatisfied with a single point.
“I think Dost just used his body well and he plays the ball in,” Sneijder told NOS.
“Then it would have been a deserved victory.” *6
Eight shots, no goals for Vincent Janssen against Sweden
It was a frustrating night for the Netherlands as they searched for win, and it was particularly frustrating for Tottenham Hotspur’s summer signing Vincent Janssen, who started the game as Blind’s centre forward.
The 22-year-old striker went into the game against Sweden with three goals in six caps, but he couldn’t add to that goal tally against Sweden.
In fact, as noted by Opta Stats below, Janssen actually had eight shots on goal but couldn’t find the net as his goalless start to the new season continues, having so far failed to find the net for Tottenham – but he was active throughout, getting on the ball inside the penalty area as many times a the whole Sweden team. *7
Neymar beats James in another Brazil-Colombia showdown 2-1
Neymar’s second-half goal gave Brazil a 2-1 victory over Colombia on Tuesday as the former world champions registered their second consecutive win to move into second place in the South America qualifying group for Russia 2018.
The home side got off to the perfect start after just 80 seconds when Miranda rose to head home a corner for his first goal in 33 appearances for the national side.
Brazil, playing just their second game under new coach Tite, dominated the first half with a high-pace pressing game but struggled to make clear cut chances and paid the price on 35 minutes when Colombia equalised against the run of play. *8
Granit Xhaka to miss Faroe Islands match after 7th red card in two years
Granit Xhaka is back in the UK and is apparently a happy man despite a SEVENTH red card in two years.
The Arsenal new boy, a £30million arrival from Borussia Monchengladbach earlier this summer, was given his marching orders while on international duty with Switzerland on Tuesday evening.
Midfielder Xhaka was dismissed for a second bookable offence after a late tackle.
But he appears to have brushed off any criticism he has received in the aftermath of the match declaring his happiness with the result which put the Swiss top of qualifying Group B. *9
Vincent Janssen: the incredible rapid rise of Tottenham Hotspur’s new boy
With the help of Vincent Janssen’s former club and international coach Fred Grim, Adam Bate examines the Tottenham striker’s rise and why it would be foolish to write him off…
As soon as Tottenham announced the signing of Vincent Janssen, the debate reopened. Nine of the past 14 Eredivisie top scorers have played in the Premier League. The list includes Premier League golden boot winners Ruud van Nistelrooy and Luis Suarez, but also the likes of Mateja Kezman and Afonso Alves. It’s a broad church. *10