MILAN – The final round of this stage of South American World Cup qualifying took place on Thursday night, heralding the end of international break for our players.
Attention now turns to the trip to Rome to face Lazio on Saturday evening (18:00 CEST kick-off).
In total, 14 Inter players were involved across Nations League and World Cup qualifiers, racking up a total of 2,528 minutes on the field of play (excluding added time). Five goals were scored by Nerazzurri players, courtesy of Lautaro (2), Barella, Perisic and Dumfries.
See below for the full round-up.
SOUTH AMERICA: LAUTARO LEADS THE WAY FOR ARGENTINA
Lautaro: 150 minutes played, 2 goals
Correa: 106 minutes played
Having missed Argentina’s first game against Paraguay, Lautaro Martinez found the net in both of his country’s other two qualifiers, against Uruguay and Peru. Martinez’s headed goal against Peru was particularly important as it was the only goal in Argentina’s 1-0 win at the Monumental. Joaquin Correa was also used by Argentina, starting against Paraguay before coming off the bench to replace Martinez against both Uruguay and Peru.
Martinez’s two goals over the past fortnight mean he has now scored 17 times for his country since making his debut back in March 2018. Since Lionel Scaloni took over as Argentina boss in September 2018, Martinez is the top scorer for his country on 17 goals, ahead of Leo Messi on 15.
Argentina sit second in the South American qualifying group behind Brazil and look on course to qualify for Qatar 2022.
Vidal: 180 minutes played
Sanchez: 180 minutes played
Chile’s situation in the group is a little more complicated. They currently sit three points behind Uruguay, who occupy the play-off position in fifth. Chile lost to Peru in their first game but bounced back with wins over Paraguay and Venezuela, with Alexis Sanchez providing three assists and playing every minute of the two victories. Arturo Vidal missed the Peru game through suspension, but returned to play every minute of the other two matches.
Vecino: 245 minutes played
Uruguay endured a tough international break, losing heavily to Argentina and Brazil and drawing with Colombia to leave them with one point from a possible nine after this series of games. Matias Vecino started each of the three matches and played the full 90 minutes against Argentina and Colombia (he was brought off in the second half against Brazil. Uruguay are in fifth position, level on points with Colombia and one behind Ecuador.
NATIONS LEAGUE AND WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS: BARELLA, DUMFRIES AND PERISIC AMONG THE GOALS
Alessandro Bastoni: 180 minutes played
Nicolo Barella: 141 minutes played, 1 goal
Roberto Mancini’s Italy called up three Inter players for the UEFA Nations League finals, with first-timer Federico Dimarco joining Nicolo Barella and Alessandro Bastoni in the Azzurri camp. There was no senior debut for the left-back, however, as Dimarco watched both games from the sidelines. Bastoni and Barella started both matches.
Italy slipped to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Luis Enrique’s Spain in the semi-final at San Siro, with Bastoni playing the full 90 minutes and Barella coming off after 71 minutes. Bastoni and Barella both started the third-place play-off against Belgium in Turin, with Italy winning 2-1 this time. And it was Barella who opened the scoring with a stunning volley from a corner, before being subbed off in the 70th minute. Bastoni played the full 90 minutes once more, making his ninth appearance for Italy, while Barella has now won 33 caps and scored seven goals for his country.
Stefan De Vrij: 180 minutes played
Denzel Dumfries: 180 minutes played, 1 goal
Holland won both their World Cup qualification games over the break, beating Latvia 1-0 away before coasting past Gibraltar with a 6-0 victory to stay top of Group G ahead of Norway and Turkey. Stefan de Vrij and Denzel Dumfries both played every minute of the two matches, with Dumfries scoring with a header in the match against Gibraltar. It means Dumfries has now scored three times for his country, after the two he scored in the summer during Euro 2020.
Hakan Calhanoglu: 180 minutes played
Hakan Calhanoglu’s Turkey – who are in the same group as Holland – drew 1-1 with Norway before beating Latvia 2-1 thanks to a Burak Yilmaz penalty scored in the ninth minute of second-half stoppage time. Calhanoglu started both games and remained on the pitch for the full 90 minutes each time, moving onto 64 appearances for Turkey.
Perisic: 180 minutes played, 1 goal
Brozovic: 176 minutes played
Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic were both heavily involved as Croatia beat 3-0 Cyprus (with Perisic scoring the opener) before drawing 2-2 with a Slovakia side featuring team-mate Milan Skriniar. That result allowed Russia to leapfrog Zlatko Dalic’s side and go top of World Cup Qualifying Group D.
Skriniar: 180 minutes played
Milan Skriniar’s Slovakia managed just one point from two games over the course of the break, leaving them on 10 points in Group H. Skriniar was the unfortunate protagonist of the 1-0 defeat in Russia in the first match – his was the own goal that decided the game – but the Inter defender was then instrumental as Slovakia held Croatia to a 2-2 draw.
BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA
Dzeko: 180 minutes played
Edin Dzeko helped his Bosnia & Herzegovina side to four points from a possible six as they beat Kazakhstan away before drawing in Ukraine. The Inter striker failed to find the net over the course of the two games, but hit the post and laid on an assist in the win over Kazakhstan, playing every minute in both matches. Bosnia & Herzegovina remain in fourth position in Group D.