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International round-up: Dúbravka returns as Slovakia hit Malta for six

Written by Dan King

Martin Dúbravka made a successful return to action as he kept a clean sheet in Slovakia's 6-0 win over Malta on Sunday.

The goalkeeper hadn't played since representing his country at Euro 2020 in the summer due to a foot injury, but could barely have hoped for an easier reintroduction in Ta' Qali, with the home side ending the game with nine men and failing to register a shot on target.

But Dúbravka, who has been on the bench for United's last two matches, will now return to Tyneside with an important 90 minutes under his belt ahead of Saturday's Premier League visit of Brentford.

Also playing a full game on Sunday night was Jeff Hendrick, who helped Republic of Ireland end their qualifying campaign with a 3-0 victory over Luxembourg.

Brighton defender Shane Duffy opened the scoring in the 67th minute before Chiedozie Ogbene of Rotherham and West Brom's Callum Robinson also found the target for Stephen Kenny's improving team, with Hendrick playing a great pass in the build-up to the second goal of the night. 

Neither Slovakia nor Republic of Ireland have qualified for next year's World Cup in Qatar, but Emil Krafth's Sweden still can.

However, they will have to do so via a play-off in March after they were beaten by Spain in their final group game on Sunday.

A victory in Seville would have seen them top Group B at Spain's expense, but Álvaro Morata scored in the 86th minute to consign Sweden to second place.

Krafth - who picked up a booking - had been replaced by Kristoffer Olsson in an attacking change a matter of seconds before Spain scored.

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