Rooney unstoppable, Hernandez and Kagawa struggle, RVP unscathed – Internationals

by Sam Peoples

Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, Danny Welbeck and Chris Smalling were all in action as England secured Brazil 2014 qualification with a 2-0 win over Poland.

Rooney was deservedly named man of the match for a metronome performance that led by example. He was everywhere, got the all important first goal and had boundless energy. In his favoured #10 role, he thrived. Poland couldn’t stop him.

Carrick stepped in for Lampard and gave England a real balance in the middle that left when he was substituted. He doesn’t get played enough by England but showed Roy Hodgson just how much he can add to England’s midfield when he does.

Welbeck’s all-round game was on show once again but his finishing was poor, which is a shame given how much he has improved in that respect this year. Smalling played well at right-back on what was a nervous night for him given the occasion and how little he has played.

“It was going to be a tough game and we controlled the first half but we played some great stuff. Getting the goal gave us that belief that we could go on and win the game.” Wayne Rooney

Luis Nani scored a fantastic goal in Portugal’s 3-0 victory over Luxembourg that should give his confidence a real lift ahead of Southampton’s visit this weekend. The Portuguese winger has so far not replicated that sort of form for Manchester United but he may be able to use this goal as a springboard. Portugal now go into the play-offs for a spot in the World Cup.

So does Patrice Evra‘s France who secured their spot with a 3-0 victory over Finland where Evra played the full game and got a yellow card for his troubles.

Shinji Kagawa played the full 90 minutes in Japan’s 1-0 defeat to Belarus in a friendly match but was far from his free-flowing best. The playmaker struggled and didn’t look fully match fit. Japan lost two friendly matches this week and didn’t score a single goal, so it wasn’t a good international break for Kagawa.

Robin van Persie was substituted at half-time in Holland’s 2-0 win over Turkey. There was no indication that he was taken off because of injury.

Javier Hernandez endured a tough night in Mexico’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica. He could have had a first half hat-trick but instead missed an open goal, a 1-on-1 situation and a chance he would usually take. To add salt to his wound, he was wrongly booked after being hit in the face by a Costa Rica defender. Substituted after an hour.

Antonio Valencia secured World Cup qualification despite a 2-1 loss to Chile. He played very well and got a fantastic assist after he ran the length of half the pitch.

Angelo Henriquez didn’t make it onto Chile’s bench but they qualified for the World Cup too.

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