One more Arsenal player has potentially booked his ticket to Russia 2018 with Switzerland’s playoff wins over Northern Ireland. There is still plenty of action this coming week though, as the next round of international friendlies take place. Here are the key matches for Arsenal players. You can compare the best betting sites and bookmaker offers with Wincomparator, which might make this international break a little more interesting.
Northern Ireland v Switzerland
Granit Xhaka and his national teammates went into yesterday’s second leg with a 1-0 lead. Their win in Northern Ireland last week was a close game decided by a rather harsh penalty. The second game last night was equally as close an encounter. It finished 0-0 and so Switzerland will be at the World Cup in Russia. Xhaka played both games in full and is almost certain to be part of the squad when the tournament rolls around. He now has almost a week-long rest before being considered to start against Spurs in the league next weekend.
Argentina v Nigeria
Already qualified Nigeria drew 1-1 away in Algeria to continue their unbeaten run. Iwobi played the first 81 minutes of the game but was withdrawn before the end. They now test themselves in a friendly against fellow qualifiers Argentina. The Super Eagles could play a strong side in this game as they try to decide on their squad ahead of Russia. Argentina struggled during their own qualifying campaign but there is no doubting their pedigree in international tournaments.
Germany v France
Olivier Giroud scored his 29th goal for France as they brushed aside Wales in Paris. The strikers minutes for Arsenal have been limited this season but he still remains his countries number one option up front and he once again delivered. He played 73 minutes before being replaced by club-mate Alexandre Lacazette. The summer signing did not have much chance to impress after coming on so late in the game but he may have some time in Germany. Laurent Koscielny secured his 50th international cap. The central defender, who will retire from international duty after the summer tournament could feature again in the week.
Germany v France
Mesut Ozil played the full 90 at Wembley on Friday night and was involved in an entertaining game throughout. Baring any injury Ozil looks certain to be part of the Germany squad in Russia and once again looked one of their more creative players.Although the game finished 0-0, both sides had chances to win but Germany were denied a number of times by the England defence. Germany now face France on Tuesday night looking to once again test their progress ahead of the World Cup. Whether Germany will field a strong side, or chose to play some of the fringe players remains to be seen.
Wales v Panama
Aaron Ramsey played the full game against France on Friday night as Wales lost 2-0. It was always going to be a difficult fixture for Wales but they would have hoped to create a few more chances than they did. It was, however, a good opportunity for Wales to blood in some of the next generation of players. Ramsey said after the game:
“They’re a great team with so many options so it was a tough task for us tonight. We took a bit of time to get going but in the end, we did create a few dangerous opportunities. It was always going to be difficult but it’s great experience as well for the younger boys coming on. Hopefully, now we can learn from this as well and get together now and build on it for what is going to be a very important European campaign.”
Wales face Panama at home on Tuesday night as the North American qualifiers have to prepare to feature at their first World Cup.
Ghana v Egypt
Egypt were one of the first qualifiers for the World Cup and their match against Ghana yesterday would not have changed the group standings much. The two sides did play out a 1-1 draw with Egypt taking the lead on the hour mark only to be pegged back soon after by their hosts. Mohamed Elneny played the full 90 minutes of this game and he will be aiming to seal a spot in the final squad. They do not habe another match during this international break as their friendly against UAE last week was cancelled.