It was a positive international break for many of our players away with their nations as the race to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup heats up.
Christian Nørgaard and Mathias Jensen were among the big winners this break as Denmark’s perfect start to qualifying continued. Wins over Scotland, Faroe Islands, and Israel, all to nil, mean The Danes need a maximum of six points from their remaining four qualifiers to book their spot in Qatar.
Christian featured in all three matches, in the process becoming our fifth-most capped international of all-time with 12. Mathias is one the four men ahead of Christian, his 90 minutes against The Faroe Islands taking him to 13 caps.
It was also a productive week for Kristoffer Ajer and Norway as they picked up seven points from a possible nine in Group G. Kristoffer didn’t play in their 1-1 draw against Netherlands but did play in their wins over Latvia and Gibraltar, in the process becoming the 49th player to play international football while at Brentford. Norway are level on points with Netherlands at the top of Group G with four to play.
Third in that Group are Halil Dervişoğlu and Turkey, two points behind the top two. Halil didn’t travel to Montenegro for their 2-2 draw last week but did feature against Gibraltar and Netherlands. His goal in the 3-0 win against Gibraltar took him level with Dai Hopkins as the only men in Brentford history to score two international goals while with the club. The 21-year-old then completed a fine week personally with the assist for Turkey’s late consolation against Netherlands on Tuesday.
Marcus Forss earned his eighth and ninth caps for Finland as they kept pace with second place in Group D. Marcus played 73 minutes of their goalless friendly draw against Wales last Wednesday before appearing off the bench late on during Saturday’s 1-0 qualifying win over Kazakhstan. The 22-year-old didn’t feature in Tuesday’s defeat to France which leaves The Eagle Owls third in Group D, level on points with Ukraine but having played a game less.
In Asian Qualifying it was a good week for Saman Ghoddos with Iran winning their opening two games in the Third, and final, Round of Qualifying. Saman played 45 minutes in their 1-0 win over Syria last Thursday before a 32-minute cameo against Iraq on Tuesday. Saman has featured in Iran’s last six competitive matches, all of which they have won, taking his cap tally to 28 for his nation. Team Melli are four points clear of third already with the top two qualifying automatically for Qatar next year.
Elsewhere in World Cup Qualifying, Ethan Pinnock made his competitive debut for Jamaica on Sunday night, playing the full 90 minutes of their 3-0 defeat to Panama. It was his second cap in total for The Reggae Boyz who currently sit bottom of the CONCACAF Final Round table with one point from their three games.
Patrik Gunnarsson was an unused substitute for all three of Iceland’s home qualifiers this week. Defeats to Romania and Germany, either side of a draw against North Macedonia, mean Iceland are all-but out of contention for a qualifying spot, trailing second-placed Armenia by seven points with just four to play.
At Under-21 level, Mads Bidstrup made his debut for Denmark this week, earning two caps. A regular at younger age groups, Mads came off the bench during last Friday’s 1-1 friendly draw against Greece before helping The Danes get Under-21 European Championship Qualifying off to a winning start against Kazakhstan four days later.
Joe Adams and Fin Stevens featured for Wales Under-21s, while Nathan Shepperd was an unused substitute, as they earned the first win of European Championship qualifying against Bulgaria in Sofia. Joe provided an assist during his 79 minutes on the pitch whilst Fin played the full 90 minutes of the 4-0 win. The victory places Wales in second place in Group E with four points after two matches.
At Under-19 level, Daniel Oyegoke and Matt Cox made their England debuts last Thursday as England beat Italy 2-0 at St George’s Park. Right-back Oyegoke then got his second taste of action for Ian Foster’s side on Monday England and Germany drew 1-1.
Val Adedokun was also away with Ireland's Under-19s this month, taking part in a week-long training camp for British-based players at Loughborough University.