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Newcastle United internationals – Fatherhood, injury and self-respect

2 weeks ago
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Newcastle United players on international duty in September set to come to an end on Wednesday night, as Jamal Lewis and Fabian Schar are set to meet when Northern Ireland and Switzerland come together for what could be a key World Cup group qualifier.

Meanwhile Sweden are away against Greece in a World Cup qualifier of their own and it remains to be seen whether Emil Krafth is involved.

After helping Sweden shock Spain in a 2-1 on Thursday, the Newcastle United player was nowhere to be seen in Sunday’s 2-1 friendly win over Uzbekistan. Emil Krafth not in the starting eleven, nor on the bench, with no news given on any injury issues in the aftermath of that game.

However, speaking ahead of their World Cup qualifier in Greece, Sweden’s manager explained that Krafth had been allowed to miss the friendly and leave the international camp due to his partner set to give birth imminently. It remains to be seen whether the NUFC defender is back with the Sweden squad tonight.

For Jeff Hendrick and teammates on Tuesday night, they got a bit of a self-respect boost after an appalling and lucky 1-1 draw with Azerbaijan on Saturday. Last night, the Republic of Ireland were battered by Serbia and only another brilliant performance from 19 year old keeper Gavin Bazunu prevented a hammering. Somehow only trailing 1-0, with four minutes to go a Serbian own goal gave the Irish what had looked a very unlikely draw.

Maybe an indication of just how limited the Irish are when it comes to creativity and goalscoring, they had Jeff Hendrick (2 goals in 79 appearances for his country) taking free-kicks. With one of these the Newcastle midfielder had one of Ireland’s two shots on target. The Republic of Ireland have zero chance of qualifying for the Qatar World Cup but at least a little bit of self-respect added, as they continue a woeful run of not a single competitive win since beating Gibraltar in June 2019.

As for Ryan Fraser, he left the Scotland squad this week after what was described as a ‘knock’ in training, only for the Newcastle player to be then photographed on crutches and wearing a protective boot. No official update as yet on how serious his injury is.

However, in his absence, Scotland in these recent days have improved their Qatar prospects immensely.

Ryan Fraser remained on the bench for the duration of Scotland’s narrow 1-0 victory over Moldova on Saturday, in what was a really poor game.

However, in Fraser’s absence, Tuesday night saw the Scots pull off an excellent 1-0 away win in Austria thanks to a goal from the penalty spot in the first half.

Denmark are strolling the group with a maximum 18 points from six games so far and hammered Israel 5-0 last night. With four rounds of games to play in the group, the latest results mean Scotland are now second in the group with 11 points, then Israel on 10 and Austria with seven. The countries that finish as runners up in the European qualifying groups, then go into a play-off process to decide who eventually joins the 10 group winners.

Full schedule of international matches in September involving Newcastle United players. The majority of the games are World Cup qualifiers, plus a few friendlies.

Wednesday 1 September

Denmark 2 Scotland 0

Comfortable win for Denmark in this World Cup qualifier but having a decent game, Newcastle’s Ryan Fraser struck a very good low left foot shot with 10 minutes to go, which produced a World class save from Kasper Schmeichel.

Portugal 2 Republic of Ireland 1

A dramatic night with Jeff Hendrick at the heart of it in this World Cup qualifier.

The Newcastle player bringing down Man Utd’s Fernandes to give Cristiano Ronaldo the chance to make history, with what would be his 110th international goal, a new World record in international football. However, the penalty brilliantly saved by the Irish keeper Bazunu.

Ireland took a shock lead on the stroke of half-time through Egan but left gutted as Cristiano Ronaldo produced superb headers in the 89th and 96th minutes to win the game for Portugal and now put him on 111 international goals, two more than anybody else has ever achieved.

Switzerland 2 Greece 1

A full 90 minutes for Newcastle’s Fabian Schar as Switzerland won the friendly, their first match since exiting the Euros against England.

Thursday 2 September

Sweden 2 Spain 1

A massive win in this World Cup qualifier sees Sweden now top the group, two points clear of Spain and with a game in hand. Emil Krafth making only his second competitive start for Sweden in over three years and they restricted Spain to only four shots on target. It was also a bit of history made as Sweden hadn’t lost in 66 World Cup qualifiers since 1993.

Lithuania 1 Northern Ireland 4

A very welcome 90 minutes for Newcastle’s Jamal Lewis who impressed going forward from his left wing-back position. An emphatic 4-1 away win in this World Cup qualifier reviving some hope of qualification, a massive game awaits next Wednesday against Fabian Schar and Switzerland.

Saturday 4 September

Scotland 1 Moldova 0

An essential win for Scotland to keep alive qualification hopes, a Lyndon Dykes goal on 14 minutes enough to beat bottom of the group Moldova. Newcastle United’s Ryan Fraser left on the bench for the entirety of this World Cup qualifier.

Republic of Ireland 1 Azerbaijan 1

Trailing 1-0 to a first half Azerbaijan goal, the 87th minute goal by Shane Duffy saw the Irish rescue a point, to avoid total humiliation, Newcastle United’s Jeff Hendrick was an unused sub.

Sunday 5 September

Sweden 2 Uzbekistan 1

A 2-1 friendly win for Sweden but no Emil Krafth in the starting eleven, nor on the bench. No news on any injury issues as yet.

Switzerland 0 Italy 0

Newcastle United’s Fabian Schar was left on the bench throughout this World Cup qualifier. Switzerland changing to a back four and picking up an excellent result, though they needed a penalty save by Yann Sommer from Jorginho to keep it goalless.

Estonia 0 Northern Ireland 1

Jamal Lewis played the first 56 minutes of this friendly before being replaced by former Newcastle left sided player Shane Ferguson. Ferguson it was who scored the winner on 75 minutes and Lewis may find his position under some pressure now.

Tuesday 7 September

Austria 0 Scotland 1

Ryan Fraser missed this World Cup qualifier through injury, pictured on crutches and wearing a protective boot. His international teammates though putting Scotland second in the group after this excellent away win.

Republic of Ireland 1 Serbia 1

Ireland indebted to their 19 year old keeper for preventing a hammering, Jeff Hendrick playing the first 78 minutes of this World Cup qualifier and having one of the only two Irish efforts on target with a free-kick. After Hendrick’s departure, Ireland seeing Serbia score an 86th minute own goal for a lucky point.

Wednesday 8 September

Greece v Sweden (Emil Krafth) World Cup qualifier

Northern Ireland v Switzerland (Jamal Lewis and Fabian Schar) World Cup qualifier

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