MILAN – 12 Inter players were in action for their respective national teams during the final international break of the calendar year in which World Cup qualification was firmly on the agenda. The Nerazzurri representatives racked up a total of 1,566 minutes on the pitch, with mixed emotions surrounding their exploits.
The table-topping clash between Argentina and Brazil and the meeting between Chile and Ecuador rounded off the international fixtures, with many teams learning their World Cup fate all over the globe.
It was a disappointing period for Roberto Mancini’s Italy side, who will have to negotiate the play-offs in March to reach the World Cup. The magic from EURO 2020 in the summer had all but disappeared, with Nicolo Barella the only Inter representative in action for the Azzurri, with Alessandro Bastoni missing out.
There were celebrations aplenty for the duos of Marcelo Brozovic and Ivan Perisic, Stefan de Vrij and Denzel Dumfries, and Lautaro Martinez and Joaquin Correa, all of whom will be at next year’s World Cup, having booked their places over the last week or so.
Croatia did so thanks to a win over Russia, while the Netherlands racked up a 2-0 win over Norway, which paved the way for Hakan Calhanoglu’s Turkey to clinch a place in the play-offs, where they could well come up against the Azzurri. Finally, Argentina’s goalless stalemate with Brazil was enough to secure tickets to Qatar 2022 for Lautaro and Correa with four qualifiers still to play.
Milan Skriniar’s Slovakia’s World Cup dreams were extinguished, while Chile and Uruguay face upward battles to return to the biggest stage of all. La Roja did beat Paraguay with Alexis Sanchez’s corner resulting in the only goal of the game, but it was followed up with a defeat by Ecuador. Matias Vecino was involved in back-to-back defeats with Uruguay, but the race for fourth place (automatic qualification) and fifth place (play-offs) is still on.
ITALY | 133 minutes for Barella
Italy 1-1 Switzerland | 69 minutes for Barella
Northern Ireland 0-0 Italy | 64 minutes for Barella
CROATIA | 135 minutes for Brozovic, 144 for Perisic
Malta 1-7 Croatia | 54 minutes and a goal for Perisic, 45 minutes for Brozovic
Croatia 1-0 Russia | 90 minutes for Perisic and Brozovic
SLOVAKIA | 180 minutes for Skriniar
Slovakia 2-2 Slovenia | 90 minutes for Skriniar
Malta 0-6 Slovakia | | 90 minutes for Skriniar
TURKEY | 172 minutes for Calhanoglu
Turkey 6-0 Gibraltar | 82 minutes for Calhanoglu
Montenegro 1-2 Turkey | 90 minutes for Calhanoglu
NETHERLANDS | 180 minutes for Dumfries, 90 for De Vrij
Montenegro 2-2 Netherlands | 90 minutes for Dumfries, De Vrij was substituted in the 90th minute
Netherlands 2-0 Norway | 90 minutes for Dumfries
ARGENTINA | 90 minutes for Correa, 100 for Lautaro
Uruguay 0-1 Argentina | 55 minutes for Lautaro, 45 for Correa
Argentina 0-0 Brazil | 45 minutes for Lautaro and Correa
CHILE | 126 minutes for Sanchez, 97 for Vidal
Paraguay 0-1 Chile | 90 minutes for Sanchez, 84 for Vidal
Chile 0-2 Ecuador | Vidal sent off after 13 minutes, Sanchez was substituted in the 36th minute
URUGUAY | 119 minutes for Vecino
Uruguay 0-1 Argentina | 64 minutes for Vecino
Bolivia 3-0 Uruguay | 45 minutes for Vecino