International Round Up: Brilliant Kagawa steals the show and Evra has heartache

by Tracey Germaine

Shinji Kagawa was brought on at half-time in Japan’s friendly against Holland. Japan were trailing 2-1 when Kagawa entered the fray.

Honda played a though ball to Kagawa whose close range right footed effort was saved in the bottom left hand corner early on. Kagawa then had a left footed shot saved. Japan had a great chance to go in front when Kagawa played a lovely through ball to Kakitani whose shot narrowly went wide of the post. He was instrumental. The match ended 2-2.

Nani played the full match in the first leg of Portugal’s World Cup Qualifying play-off against Sweden. The Manchester United winger and his country moved a step closer to Brazil after securing a 1-0 win thanks to a header from Cristiano Ronaldo.

Before the break, Nani almost set up Helder Postiga but although he controlled the pass well, a Swedish defender was able to clear in time. He was denied a chance to get an the score sheet when his left footed effort was saved by Andreas Isaksson.

Patrice Evra‘s hopes of reaching the World Cup finals were dealt a blow tonight as France lost 2-0 to Ukraine. The only consolation is that the second leg will be a home tie. Roman Zozulya grabbed the opener for Ukraine just past the hour mark. Andriy Yarmolenko’s doubled the lead from the penalty spot. Laurent Koscielny and Oleksandr Kucher were sent off in added time.

Phil Jones, Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling and Tom Cleverley all featured in England’s 2-0 defeat to Chile. Alexis Sanchez scored both goals for the visitors. Phil Jones got a rare start in central defence. He was replaced by fellow United defender Chris Smalling  on 57 minutes as he picked up a groin injury and will have to have a scan to determine the extent of the damage.

Rooney played the full match. He created a good opening for Adam Lallana but his shot was comfortably saved. He chased down the ball for most of the match but understandably tired near the end. Cleverley came on for the final 20 minutes, replacing Frank Lampard.

Jonny Evans played the full 90 minutes of Northern Ireland’s 1-0 defeat to Turkey. Mevlut Erding scored what proved to be the winning goal just before half time.

Antonio Valencia played 89 minutes in Ecuador’s 0-0 draw with Argentina. He set up an early chance for Ecuador but Enner Valencia’s shot went wide. Soon after Valencia had the chance to score himself from a header but he was denied by the woodwork. Later his right-footed shot from outside the box was blocked by the Argentinian defence. He had another right-footed effort before half-time but it went high and wide. He was replaced by Joao Rojas in the 89th minute.

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