Saturday, 12 October 2013

Arsenal Players Shine For Their Countries

The last of the World Cup qualifiers got underway last night and there were plenty of Arsenal players involved. With the prize of a trip to Brazil next summer on offer there was a lot to play for. From my own perspective Ireland are well out of the picture, but at least I got to watch Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker play for Germany against them.

First up to make a real impact last night was Nicklas Bendtner who scored twice for Denmark in a 2-2 draw with Italy. He took both of his goals very well and they were typical Bendtner headers. What those goals did show from an Arsenal perspective is that he has got something to offer to the team still even if it is from the bench.

I thought he was still suspended by Denmark due to his drink driving conviction from last season, but obviously I was wrong. Italy have already won the group and if Bendtner is to go to the World Cuo Denmark will have to clinch second place in their group and advance through the play offs. They play at home to Malta on Tuesday night and need to win if they're going to finish second in the group and have a chance of making those play offs.

In the Ireland game it took a while but Ozil did manage to get a goal in the last minute of the game. He was played through with only the keeper to beat and he dinked the ball over him with his left foot for an excellent finish. Both Ozil and Mertesacker will be on their way to Brazil with Lukas Podolski probably joining them as Germany's win meant they won the group and qualified.

Elsewhere Olivier Giroud scored twice as France beat Australia 6-0 in a friendly and he took both of his goals very well. They were both first time finishes as the ball was cut back to him from the right hand side. Giroud has shown for Arsenal that those are the chances he is most likely to take and he has a knack of finding the space he needs to convert them. 

If France are going to go to Brazil they will realistically have to do so through the play offs, as Spain will win their group as long as they don't lose their last game at home to Georgia on Tuesday night. The play offs can be a bit of lottery but France will fancy their chances against most of the other countries who will be in the draw. The only worrying aspect was Laurent Koscielny who didn't play due to injury, but the chances are he wasn't being risked with a qualifier against Finland to come on Tuesday night.

Watching international football is no real substitute for watching Arsenal, but at least it's good to see Arsenal players putting in good performances for their countries. Hopefully all of the players can come back fit and ready to play for Arsenal with two games a week for the next month. With any luck they will be joined by a few others returning from injury to give Arsene Wenger plenty of options and selection headaches too.

By my estimation there could be roughly 14 Arsenal players playing at next summer's World Cup and quite a few of them will be with teams who have a realistic chance of making a real impression. Spain, Germany, France, Belgium and even England can all be expected to be among the contenders and they should all have Arsenal players at the tournament. It should at least make it a little more interesting for me as the Irish players enjoy a long summer holiday.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.


  1. It was Bendtner's comeback game and he took it quite well. Had great vision, mobility, physique and pace. Very suprising level that he played on considering his lengthy absence. Denmark are out of the World Cup race regardless of the result in Malta because the points won't count against number two's from groups with only 5 teams as Malta is bottom of the group.

    1. It's good to hear, from an Arsenal perspective that he did so well. Thanks for the info on Denmark and their World Cup chances.

    2. I was so so happy to watch Arsenal Players perform for their respective countries..and my peak of yesterday was Nicklas Bendtner's goals for Denmark..