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First Team

International Recap: March 2022

Eriksen nets on return while World Cup dream ends for Onyeka and Wissa

31 March 2022

Christian Eriksen’s return to Denmark colours could hardly have gone better with the 30-year-old scoring in both the Danes games this month. Back after the cardiac arrest he suffered at last year’s European Championships, Christian scored with his first touch off the bench against Netherlands last Saturday before finding the net again against Serbia on Tuesday.

The game against Serbia was particularly poignant as Christian led out the two teams at Parken in Copenhagen, the scene of his collapse against Finland in June.

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Christian Nørgaard also featured in both games, which finished in a 4-2 defeat to Netherlands and a 3-0 win over Serbia. The 28-year-old came off the bench against Netherlands before starting against Serbia, setting up Brentford teammate Eriksen for his goal. Christian now has 17 caps for his nation, all of which have come while a Brentford player.

Tuesday’s game against Serbia also saw Mathias Jensen earn his 16th cap for Denmark, creating a piece of Brentford history in the process. Mathias’ introduction on 67 minutes meant that three Bees players were on the pitch for the same team in a senior international match for the first time in our history.

Another piece of club history was created this week with David Raya becoming the first Bees goalkeeper to play a senior international. That record was set on Saturday when David made his debut for Spain against Albania in Barcelona; a late Dani Olmo goal securing victory for Luis Enrique’s side. The game had even more significance for David given it was played at the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat which overlooks the home of UE Cornellà, the club where David began playing football as a junior. The 26-year-old was then an unused substitute on Tuesday as Spain thrashed Iceland 5-0 in A Coruna.

There was less positive news for our players involved in the CAF World Cup Play-Offs with Frank Onyeka and Yoane Wissa seeing their dreams of reaching Qatar end on Tuesday night. Both Nigeria and DR Congo drew their respective First Legs on Friday, Yoane netting Congo’s goal in their 1-1 draw with Morocco, meaning it all came down to Tuesday.

Frank and the Super Eagles suffered the heartbreak of going out on away goals following a 1-1 draw at home to Ghana. Thomas Partey’s tenth-minute strike in Abuja eventually proving to be the tie’s decisive moment.  It was a little bit more straight-forward for DR Congo who were beaten 4-1 in Casablanca.

Frank started the return leg on Tuesday to earn his seventh Nigeria cap while Wissa played both games, meaning he now has two goals in four international appearances.

Kris Ajer added a 26th Norwegian cap to his collection, playing 90 minutes on Tuesday as they routed ten-man Armenia 9-0 in Oslo. Erling Haaland netted twice with Watford’s Josh King grabbing a hat-trick at the Ullevaal Stadion. There was also a 12th Finland cap for Marcus Forss. The striker, who is currently on loan at Hull City, played 85 minutes of the Eagles Owls 2-0 defeat to Slovakia on Tuesday.

At Under-21 level there was another busy week of European Championship Qualifying.

Fin Stevens played 90 minutes in both games as Wales added a further point to their tally in Group E. The Young Dragons bounced back from a 5-1 defeat to Switzerland last Friday to earn a point at home to Bulgaria on Tuesday. Paul Bodin’s side are now out of contention to qualify for next summer’s tournament in Romania and Georgia with two games to play. The appearances were Fin’s sixth and seventh for his nation at Under-21 level.

Albania and Roy Syla will also miss out on next summer’s tournament after a pair of home defeats in Group E. The Brentford B midfielder made his debut off the bench in Friday’s 1-0 defeat to Czechia before playing the final 22 minutes on Tuesday against England, a game which ended in a 3-0 win for the Young Lions.

It was a better week for Mads Bidstrup and Denmark as they became the first team to take points off Belgium in Group I, strengthening their grip on second in the process. Mads played the final 34 minutes of the 1-1 draw in Herning to earn his fifth Denmark Under-21 cap. The Danes need a maximum of four points from their three games in June to secure a Play-Off spot.

Matt Cox and Dan Oyegoke sailed through the Elite Round of Qualifying for this summer’s Under-19 European Championships with three wins from three. Matt started all three matches in goal, conceding just once, while Dan came off the bench in each of the games. Matt has now started England’s last five competitive internationals, earning six caps in total, while Dan has made seven outings for Ian Foster’s side.

Nico Jones played an hour of a non-cap international as Ireland’s Under-20s were beaten 1-0 by an Ireland Amateurs side. 

Saman Ghoddos was initially selected by IR Iran but was forced to withdraw following a positive Covid-19 result. 

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