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Saturday 16 November 2013

2014 World Cup: Frustration for Barclays Premier League stars

Defeats for France, Sweden and Romania in European play-offs for places in Brazil

There was frustration for a large number of players from the Barclays Premier League in the first legs of their European play-offs for the FIFA 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

Greece 3-1 Romania

West Ham United defender Razvan Rat captained Romania as they went down 3-1 in Athens, with Konstantin Mitroglou scoring twice for Greece. Fulham midfielder Giorgios Karagounis was a 77th-minute substitute for Greece, while Manchester City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon remained on Romania’s bench.

Iceland 0-0 Croatia

Tottenham Hotspur’s Gylfi Sigurdsson and Cardiff City’s Aron Gunarsson both played the whole match for Iceland, who were reduced to 10 men against a Croatia side for whom Southampton’s Dejan Lovren was an unused substitute.

Ukraine 2-0 France

A France team that included eight Barclays Premier League players in Kiev have it all to do in Paris on Tuesday after this defeat. Roman Zozulia put Ukraine ahead and Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny conceded the penalty for Ukraine’s second goal by Andriy Yarmolenko and will miss the second leg after receiving a red card towards the end of the match.

Also starting for France were Hugo Lloris (Spurs), Mathieu Debuchy, Loic Remy (both Newcastle United), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Samir Nasri (France), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), while Moussa Sissoko replaced club-mate Remy in the 62nd minute. Among France’s unused substitutes were Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool) and Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle).

Portugal 1-0 Sweden

Manchester United winger Nani played the whole match as Portgual claimed victory with a late goal from Cristiano Ronaldo. For Sweden, there were four Barclays Premier League players in the starting XI: Martin Olsson (Norwich City), Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland), Johan Elmander (Norwich), Alexander Kacaniklic (Fulham). West Bromwich Albion defender Jonas Olsson remained on the Sweden bench.

World Cup qualifying results

15 November

Europe play-off first leg
Greece 3-1 Romania
Iceland 0-0 Croatia
Portugal 1-0 Sweden
Ukraine 2-0 France

Selected international friendly results

Argentina 0-0 Ecuador
Czech Republic 2-0 Canada
England 0-2 Chile
Italy 1-1 Germany
Jamaica 0-1 Trinidad & Tobago
Rep of Ireland 3-0 Latvia
Scotland 0-0 United States
Turkey 1-0 Northern Ireland

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Key Points

  • Frustration for many Barclays Premier League players in European play-offs for 2014 World Cup
  • France, Romania and Sweden will have to come from behind to go to Brazil
  • France had most Barclays Premier League players on show with eight on the pitch in Kiev