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International round-up

Joy for Northern Ireland...

10 October 2017

Irish eyes were smiling during October's international break as a quartet of Millwall's six internationals advanced to the FIFA World Cup 2018 Qualifiers European Play-Off Round.

Northern Ireland, despite two defeats to Germany and Norway, secured second place in Group C and will now await next Tuesday's draw to find out who stands in their way of a first World Cup appearance since 1986.

Conor McLaughlin played the full 90 minutes in both games - going viral with a double nutmeg on German superstars Julian Draxler and Marvin Plattenhardt in the process - whilst George Saville made his debut late on against Germany, before playing the second-half in the 1-0 defeat to Norway on Sunday night.

Shane Ferguson's appearance in the final 10 minutes Oslo set a new Lions record - it was the first time that Millwall could boast three international players in the same team at the same time.

Meanwhile, Aiden O'Brien's Republic of Ireland team-mates also qualified for the Play-Offs courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Wales in Cardiff on Monday night.

There were permutations galore in Group D as the night got underway, but James McClean's 57th-minute winner, coupled with Serbia's win at home to Georgia, sent the Irish through and the Welsh out.

It was not to be for Jordan Archer's Scotland, though, as, despite a last-gasp win over Slovakia at Hampden Park on Thursday night, a 2-2 draw in Slovenia wasn't enough to join England in qualifying for Russia in Group F.

Away from Europe, Canada's Kris Twardek made his debut as a late substitute in a 1-0 friendly defeat to El Salvador on Sunday night.

The European Play-Offs will be held over the course of the next international break in mid-November.


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