Wigan Athletic’s international players were once again in action all over the globe in the last week, competing in World Cup and Euro 2013 qualifiers as well as a number of friendly matches.
A host of players were aiming to help their nations progress in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and there was mixed news for those who are due to return to the Club this week.
James McCarthy’s international recognition continues to grow having played the full 90 minutes in both of the Republic of Ireland’s group matches against Germany and the Faroe Islands. After a 6-1 defeat in Dublin to the Germans on Friday, Giovanni Trapattoni’s men found a response away to the Faroe Islands and came away with a 4-1 victory that has placed them third in the group.
Ali Al Habsi and Oman took a big step towards qualifying for their first World Cup finals with a 2-1 win over Jordan in Muscat on Monday, a result that moves them into third place behind Japan and Australia. The Latics ‘keeper played the full 90 minutes and wore the captain’s armband for their latest win.
There was more good news for Maynor Figueroa, who helped Honduras progress to the next phase of qualification with a 0-0 draw away to Panama and a thumping 8-1 home win against Canada, playing the full 90 minutes in both and seeing that his side finished top of their group with eleven points.
There was well publicised controversy in Senegal where Arouna Kone and Ivory Coast were bidding to qualify for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations. With his side leading 2-0, the match had to be abandoned due to crowd trouble and the Ivoirians were later awarded the result which sees them through to the finals. Kone himself did not feature in the match.
As for the Scottish contingent of the Wigan Athletic squad, there was to be further disappointment in their bid to qualify for a first major international tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France.
Gary Caldwell and Shaun Maloney played the full match against Wales in Cardiff on Friday but were on the end of a 2-1 defeat, and the return of James McArthur against Belgium on Tuesday could not turn Craig Levein’s luck around, going on to lose 2-0 in Brussels despite a spirited performance in which all three started and finished the encounter.
Fraser Fyvie was also in action in Spain as Scotland’s Under 21 team faced USA and Canada in the Marbella Cup. Fyvie started both, losing 2-0 to the Americans but then helping his team to a 2-0 win against Canada on Tuesday.
Jean Beausejour made his first international appearances since joining Wigan Athletic as Chile faced two World Cup qualification matches in South America. However they would both end in disappointment with the Latics midfielder playing the full 90 against Ecuador in Quito which ended in a 3-1 defeat, and against Argentina in Santiago, losing 2-1 to Lionel Messi and co.
Filip Orsula’s recent performances for the Slovakia Under 21 team looked to have come at the right time in their attempts to qualify for next year’s Under 21 European Championships. They faced Holland in a play-off to reach the finals but were defeated 2-0 in both legs and won’t get the chance to compete at the competition. Orsula came off the bench in their home leg and played 69 minutes in the second leg.
Finally, Ryo Miyaichi made his first international appearance whilst at Latics, coming off the bench in the final minutes for Japan in their friendly match against Brazil in Poland. A memorable moment for the 19-year-old, but perhaps not for Japan who lost 4-0.