Nightmare night for Alexander Isak
Alexander Isak couldn’t have been in better condition heading into Friday night.
His three goals in the most recent two Premier League matches, helping Newcastle United to a two massive wins ahead of the international break.
His thigh injury had contributed to a nine months gap since Alexander Isak had played for his country.
Last night though he was named to lead the line in Stockholm, Sweden’s first group qualifier for Euro 2024, a huge clash with Belgium.
After failing to qualify for the Qatar World Cup due to losing in the play-offs to Poland, the striker and his teammates wanted to get off to a good start in these European Championship qualifiers in order to reach the European Championships in Germany next year.
The last gasp failure to qualify for Qatar had hit Sweden hard, after the loss to Poland, Sweden losing four and winning only one of their next six internationals. However, they went into last night’s game against Belgium in high spirits, having won their last four friendly internationals.
Ahead of Friday night, Alexander Isak summed up how the Sweden camp felt after the disappointment of missing out on this last World Cup in such dramatic circumstances, the Newcastle striker telling the Swedish media ‘There is a desire for revenge. We haven’t got the results and are not used to losing or dropping as many points as we have. The energy feels good in the group now and we are engaged.’
Sadly though, this turned into a nightmare night for Alexander Isak and his international teammates.
The Newcastle United striker was starved of service and only one blocked shot in the second half to show for his efforts.
Whilst at the back the Sweden defence had a shocker.
Romelu Lukaku scored in the 35th and 49th minutes before then Alexander Isak was replaced by Ibrahimovic in the 73rd minute.
Aged 41 years, five months and 21 days, it was initially thought that Ibrahimovic was going to break the the record, held by Italian goalkeeper Dino Zoff since 1983, as the oldest man to play in a European Championship qualifier. However, Gibraltar striker Lee Casciaro, who is four days older than Ibrahimovic, took the record in his team’s 3-0 home defeat to Greece on Friday.
Ibrahimovic couldn’t make any difference and indeed Lukaku completed his hat-trick on 82 minutes for a devastating scoreline where the home side were concerned.
The only positive (especially for Newcastle fans) is that Alexander Isak getting subbed, did look purely tactical and not due to injury. Sweden making a double change in that 73rd minute to try and salvage something.
With Austria hammering Azerbaijan 4-1, Sweden already under pressure, as only the top two in the group qualify, with it looking a three way fight between Belgium, Austria and Isak’s. Estonia are the fifth country that make up qualifying Group F.
It was already a must win on Monday but now a must must win, as Alexander Isak play another home qualifier, this time against Azerbaijan.
Thursday 23 March
Italy 1 England 2 (Euro 2024 Group Qualifier)
Kieran Trippier an 81st minute sub, coming on for Phil Foden directly after Luke Shaw was sent off with England leading 2-1 at the time.
The Newcastle United defender helping to get England over the line in a match that they threatened to throw away, when in reality they should have had it sewn up with Rice and Kane goals before half-time.
Poor defending by Harry Maguire allowing Italy to pull it back to 2-1 in the 56th minute.
San Marino 0 N Ireland 2 (Euro 2024 Group Qualifier)
Jamal Lewis starting the match and putting in a very decent performance, albeit against poor opponents. The Newcastle United defender topping his display off with an excellent cross for Dion Charles to score his and Northern Ireland’s second goal. Jamal Lewis subbed off on 74 minutes and replaced by former NUFC defender Shane Ferguson.
Slovakia 0 Luxembourg 0 (Euro 2024 Group Qualifier)
Martin Dubravka starting and playing the full match, keeping a clean sheet in a match that Slovakia could and should have won.
Friday 24 March
Australia 3 Ecuador 1 Friendly
Garang Kuol introduced in the 78th minute off the bench with the score at 2-1.
The 18 year old Newcastle striker only taking six minutes to make it 3-1, with a left foot finish.
A special moment, his first ever international senior goal (watch it HERE) for Australia.
France 4 Holland 0 (Euro 2024 Group Qualifier)
Sven Botman and four other players left the Dutch squad on Thursday due to contracting a virus but Ronald Koeman says it is possible one or more of them could potentially return in time to be involved in Monday’s game against Gibraltar.
Sweden 0 Belgium 3 (Euro 2024 Group Qualifier)
A nightmare night for Alexander Isak and his international teammates. The Newcastle United striker starved of service and only one blocked shot in the second half to show for his efforts, as at the back the Sweden defence had a shocker. Lukaku scoring a hat-trick and Isak replaced by Ibrahimovic in the 73rd minute.
Sunday 26 March
England v Ukraine (Kieran Trippier) Euros Qualifier
N Ireland v Finland (Jamal Lewis) Euros Qualifier
Slovakia v Bosnia-Herzegovina (Martin Dubravka) Euros Qualifier
Monday 27 March
Holland v Gibraltar (Sven Botman and four other players left the Dutch squad on Thursday due to contracting a virus but Ronald Koeman says it is possible one or more of them could potentially return in time to be involved in this game against Gibraltar) Euros Qualifier
Sweden v Azerbaijan (Alexander Isak) Euros Qualifier
Tuesday 28 March
Australia v Ecuador (Garang Kuol) Friendly
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