Ekdal beats France, Mavraj, Israel and three 1-1 draws

Five Rothosen had a great weekend with their national teams, collecting crucial points in 2018 World Cup qualifiers. 

Rothosen men Albin Ekdal (Sweden), Mergim Mavraj (Albania), Michael Gregoritsch (Austria), Filip Kostic (Serbia), and Bobby Wood (USA) were all in action in 2018 World Cup qualifiers at the weekend. Albin Ekdal did very well playing for Sweden who beat Euro finalists France 2-1, at the Friends-Arena in Solna. Ola Toivonen scored the winner from the halfway line with the final kick off the game after France keeper Lloris lost the ball while out of goal. HSV midfielder was brought on as a substitute on 77 minutes. The win saw the Swedes leapfrog France in the group A table. Ekdal looked solid keeping the potent French strike force at bat.

Mavraj enjoys 3-0 success

Ekdal’s defensive team mate Mergim Mavraj also had reson to celebrate. The 31 year old gritty defender enjoyed a fine 3-0 away win over Israel with Albania. That crucial win sees the Albanians pass Israel in the Group G table and move into third place with ten points. It was a fine win even if group leaders Spain and Italy are so far ahead with both having 16 points.

No win but an important point was what  HSV’s Serbian international Filip Kostic had to show for his efforts. The same goes Michel Gregoritsch and Bobby Wood. Kostic and Serbia defended top spot in Group D, drawing 1-1 away to Wales. The winger played for 67 minutes in Cardiff.  Gregoritsch was in action for Austria in the same group. His national team drew 1-1 with second placed Ireland in Dublin. The draw means that Austria are currently third, still four points behind leading duo Serbia and Ireland (both 12 points). Last but by no means least Bobby Wood and his USA team drew 1-1 away to  neighbours the easy leaders of their group. Wood played for 79 minutes before being substituted. The point sees the Americans remain in third place on 8 points. Table neighbours Panama just two points behind them could overtake USA during this round of games.   

The three best teams from the CONCACAF qualification will reach Russia 2018. The team in fourth place take part in a play off again the team which finished fifth best in the AFC region qualifiers. In Europe the nine group winners go through. Eight second placed teams go into a play off. So things are still exciting for the Rothosen men on international duty. Doesn’t get much better than that!