Volley’s, clean sheets and plastic pitches as Villa’s international stars were in Euro 2008 qualification action, here’s how they got on.
Starting with captain fantastic, Gareth Barry played the full 90 minutes for England as they took the lead and then fell apart as Russia came from behind to win 2-1 thanks to a Wayne Rooney cock up and yet another display of weak hands from Paul Robinson on “that plastic pitch.” The Sun gave Barry a measly 4/10, which just goes to show how intelligent their reporters are. Scott Carson and Ashley Young were in the squad, but not named amongst the substitutes.
Not good news for Shaun Maloney, who in only his third start for Scotland as they went down 2-0 to European giants Georgia, sporting a 17 year old in goal. Scotland now have to beat World Champions Italy if they are to stand any chance of progressing to the finals.
Stand-in Villa right back Olof Mellberg has been looking bizzarely more attacking every week for Villa, and this can only be proved further by his popping up to volley home a Tobias Linderoth cross at the back post as Sweden drew away to Northern Ireland.
It was a quiet evening for Wilfred Bouma, as Holland rolled over minnows Slovenia 2-0, and Thomas Sorensen retained his international place just behind Martin Laursen with both players getting the full 90 minutes in Denmark’s 3-1 win against Latvia. Stiliyan Petrov only managed 45 minutes of football for Bulgaria as they drew with Albania, though I’m not sure anyone cares.