International round-up: Schär in action, disappointment for Sangare
Written by Rory Mitchinson
Tuesday’s Euro 2020 qualifier at home to the Republic of Ireland has become an even more important one for Fabian Schär’s Switzerland after the Magpies defender and his teammates suffered a setback over the weekend.
The Swiss – for whom Schär played from the outset – lost 1-0 to Denmark on Saturday and now find themselves four points adrift of a top-two place in Group D, though they do have a game in hand.
Mick McCarthy’s Ireland will make sure of their spot at next summer’s pan-European finals with victory in Geneva tomorrow night, and with the Danes still to play rock-bottom Gibraltar at home, a defeat for Switzerland will almost certainly end their chances of qualifying automatically.
Should that happen, they will need to negotiate two play-off games next March to secure their place at a fourth straight major tournament. Win, however, and they will be firmly back in the hunt to progress from Group D, given their final two qualifiers are against the Gibraltarians and fellow strugglers Georgia.
Schär’s United teammate Emil Krafth could also be involved in a key clash on Tuesday night, with Sweden – currently second in Group F – preparing to host Spain in Solna.
Krafth remained on the bench as Sweden won 4-0 in Malta on Saturday, though Janne Andersson’s still have plenty of work to do if they are to make it to Euro 2020 without having to go down the play-off route.
Lose to Spain and they will find themselves sitting out of the top two should Romania beat Norway, though victory for the Norwegians – who struck late to earn a point against Spain at the weekend – would still leave the battle for the group’s second qualification place wide open.
Further afield, Mo Sangare’s Liberia were knocked out of the qualifying race for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations after squandering a first-leg lead over Chad.
Sangare was an unused substitute as the Lone Stars – reduced to ten men early into the second half – lost 1-0 on the night before suffering an agonising 5-4 penalty shootout defeat.
Liberia do, however, remain in the hunt for a place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, having progressed from the First Round of qualification last month.
In Washington D.C., DeAndre Yedlin also watched from the sidelines as the United States hammered Cuba 7-0 in their first ever CONCACAF Nations League qualifier.
And finally, United pair Martin Dúbravka and Miguel Almirón could have come face to face as Slovakia took on Paraguay in a friendly last night, but neither player figured at the Tehelné pole in Bratislava.