Retired stars Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Edwin van der Sar and Dimitar Berbatov enjoyed a lengthy break away from football but around a dozen Manchester United players engaged in international fixtures this week. Euro 2012 qualifiers, the Under-21 championships and international friendlies were taking place in the past week.
There were mixed results for Old Trafford’s heroes, with Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney each starting in England’s bore draw with Montenegro at Wembley on Tuesday night.
Ferdinand, restored as England captain following a long-term knee injury, completed the full 90 minutes, while Rooney failed to find the net as England served up yet another mediocre display in London. The pair might wonder why they bother turning out for Fabio Capello’s side as boos rang out at Wembley.
Better news for England fans came in the Under-21s, where Chris Smalling stared as Stuart Pearce’s side beat Romania over two legs to qualify for the summer 2011 tournament, to be held in Denmark. The former Fulham defender scored as England pulled off a 2-1 aggregate win.
Over in Paris, France continued a post-World Cup rebuilding programme without Patrice Evra, who is still serving a five-match suspension for his part in the mutiny this summer. The United left back missed Les Bleus’ victories over Romania and Luxembourg to keep France in touch with Belarus in Group D.
Meanwhile, John O’Shea and Darron Gibson both featured in the Republic of Ireland’s fixtures with Russia and Slovakia. O’Shea started both matches at right-back, while Gibson made a second half appearance in the 3-2 home loss to Russia and then came on for Paul Green in the first half during Ireland’s 1-1 draw in Žilina. Giovanni Trapattoni’s men now lie third in Group B, two points behind Russia.
In Group C Nemanja Vidic started Serbia’s 3-1 loss to Estonia in Beograd last Friday, which put the Orlovi at risk of failing to qualify from Group C. Worse was to come with Serbia’s fixture against Italy in Genoa abandoned after rioting visiting fans forced the referee to order an end to proceedings. Vidic will be thankful he missed the match through suspension, with UEFA likely to award a 3-0 win to Italy.
Italy’s Under-21s crashed out though, with Federico Macheda an unused substitute as the Azzurri went down 3-0 after extra-time in the second-leg to Belarus. The Italians led 2-0 from the first leg last week.
Also in Group C Jonny and Corry Evans featured in Northern Ireland’s fixtures with Italy and the Faroe Islands. The joy of a Friday night scoreless draw with the Azzurri in Belfast wiped out by a lifeless draw away to the Islanders today. Evans started both matches at left-back, with brother Corry came on as a second half substitute in Svangaskarð.
In Group H, Nani excelled as Portugal beat Denmark 3-1 in Porto. The United winger scored twice and laid on a third for former Red Cristiano Ronaldo. It didn’t keep the former Sporting player in the Selecção though, with Nani starting the victory over Iceland in Reykjavík on the bench. Paulo Bento’s side remains behind Norway and Denmark at the top of the qualification table.
Finally in the Euro 2012 qualifiers Darren Fletcher captained Scotland as Craig Levein’s now infamous 4-6-0 formation lost 1-0 to the Czech Republic in Prague on Friday night and again against Spain back at Hampden on Tuesday. However, the Scots can be proud in narrowly losing 3-2 to the world champions. Former United defender Gerard Piqué scored an own goal to draw Scotland level at 2-2 but Fletcher’s side failed to hold out for the draw in Glasgow.
Outside of European qualifiers but still on the continent neither Anderson nor Rafael da Silva were selected for Brazil, who beat Ukraine 2-0 at Derby Country’s Pride Park on Monday night. Just 13,088 turned up to see the Seleção win with goals from Daniel Alves and Alexandre Pato.
Meanwhile in Asia, Park Ji-Sung missed South Korea’s scoreless draw with Japan today. The United winger pulled out of the match complaining of knee pain; the injury which kept the Korean captain on the sidelines at times last season.
The final fixture of the international calendar involving United’s players will see Javier Hernández feature for Mexico against Venezuela in Ciudad Juarez late tonight. The 22-year-old striker has scored 10 in 19 caps to date.
13 thoughts on “International round-up”
Rooney: time for an enforced rest or should he play his way back into form?
Chicharito scored Mexico’s first in a 2-2 draw vs Venezuela.
rooney looks slow and unfit and completely fucked,
i blame fergie for this, six years of having no regard for rooneys fitness has caught up, there were two kevin davies upfront yesterday
How many times have we heard, though, that Fergie is pissed off because Rooney has been playing with an injury but not told anybody about it? I think it works both ways; Fergie wants him to play as much as he can, Rooney wants to play EVERY game.
The main problems are the mental scars left by the Prostitutes Union after blacklisting Rooney.
Perhaps SAF can negotiate/persuade them to rescind their decision?
Maybe Glazers can slip them a few quid?
So Park is probably out for a bit, that leaves us even deeper in the whole on the wing. Giggs is back but he can’t play every match.
Ando on the left wing was a disaster. Do we let Obertan and Bebe get a shot??? Do we play Macheda on the left?
Last season Rooney was fizzing around like a man possessed. Now he can’t seem to sprint. Yesterday when he tackled someone in their own half he had a chance to run at the back four with loads of space in behind but he just seemed to stall and lose the ball. It seems like he is trying to become a culture second striker when he should stick to being the rampaging bull we paid the money for. This video is a timely reminder:
Park out for a bit, is not a bad thing… if he can’t be picked, then he can’t be useless.
I don’t think Fergie has used Rooney properly either, but I don’t think Rooneys current problem is Fergusons’ fault.
Everyone says Rooney is fine… Fergie, Capello, even his team mates say he’s fine in training, and he’ll soon come good, blah, blah… but there’s a big difference in running around in training, looking fit… and having your head right, come match day.
To me, it just looks like he’s lost his natural hunger for the game…
I think Ferguson needs to make a hard choice, and send Rooney and his missus off to the middle of nowhere, sort themselves out, and not come back, till he’s desperate to play again.
Need to sell Rooney, he is useless. Has lost his desire to play football. Needs to take a year off and come back next season a better player. He is in the same frame of mind as Tiger Woods and its going to take time for him to get back that desire. United can’t wait that long, they need positive results now if they are to win the league.
Sell him in January and bring in either Etto, Fabiano or Torres.
northern irelands pathetic draw with 11 fshermen has really pissed me off. evans had 2 easy chances to score and fucked them both up..
It amazes me that a big club like United refuses to buy a world class midfielder, but instead decides to wait two years for a player that has two bad knees, to hopefully, fully recover from his injuries. I just cannot figure that one out. Hardgreaves cannot play long with two bad knees, his career has been long over. Ferdinand has a recurring back problem, so he has a problem also. Then there’s Anderson who is struggling with his knee injury, Michael Owen, who is injury prone and Rooney with his problems. O’Shea and Evans, not just good enough. Can Fergie fix or solve these problems? He is saying the team has no killer instinct. I believe its his job to fix these problems.