Many of Liverpool’s players were on international duty this weekend as the last international break devoted to Euro 2008 qualifiers took place.
In England the focus was on a game not actually involving Steve McClaren’s men. Israel managed to endear themselves to England fans by beating Russia 2-1, without their injured captain, Reds star Yossi Benayoun. With fellow group members Croatia losing their game against Macedonia 2-0, England can now qualify for Euro 2008 if they get a draw on Wednesday at home to Croatia. Steven Gerrard will be captain for that game, and with Michael Owen once again succumbing to injury to join Wayne Rooney on the sidelines, Peter Crouch should be given a chance to start upfront in that game. He scored on Friday as he and Gerrard took part in England’s 1-0 friendly win against Austria.
Daniel Agger was missing for Denmark last night due to his metatarsal injury, and after they lost in Northern Ireland last night he now knows he won’t be going to Euro 2008. Fellow Scandinavian John Arne Riise played 90 minutes of Norway’s 2-1 defeat at home to Turkey. A win for Norway would have seen them qualify, but now it goes down to the last game.
Pepe Reina was an unused sub as Spain beat Sweden 3-0. This means Spain have now qualified for the finals, news which will of course have delighted Pepe’s Red teammates Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres who stayed at home after suffering injuries.
Steve Finnan played the full game for Ireland in their 2-2 draw with Wales at the Millennium Stadium. Both sides went into the game unable to qualify for the finals. Ukrainian striker Andriy Voronin played 69 minutes of his country’s 2-0 loss in Lithuania.
Finland still have a chance of qualification, Sami Hyypia playing the whole of their 2-1 win over Azerbaijan. Meanwhile Ryan Babel came on after 84 minutes of Holland’s 1-0 win over Luxembourg, a win that ensured they would be taking part in the finals next summer.