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International Round-Up: Heartbreak For McArthur

9 October 2017

James McArthur saw his chances of reaching the World Cup next summer end as Scotland failed to claim the win they needed in Slovenia on Sunday night.

The Palace midfielder had played the final 15 minutes of Gordon Strachan’s side’s huge 1-0 win against Slovakia which saw them leapfrog their opponents into a play-off spot, meaning they needed three points from their final group game to keep their dream of reaching a first major finals since 1998 alive.

McArthur was named in the starting line-up in Slovenia, winning his 32nd cap in the process, and helped his team take the lead by assisting Leigh Griffiths’ opener, but two second half goals for the hosts turned things around. Although Robert Snodgrass made it 2-2 with two minutes remaining, McArthur’s side couldn’t find the crucial winner and were eliminated.

Despite scoring his first ever international goal, Luka Milivojevic couldn’t celebrate qualifying for the finals in Russia as Serbia fell to their first defeat of the campaign against Austria. Needing a win to secure their place, Milivojevic fired home after 11 minutes from just outside the box, but an 89th minute winner for Austria saw Serbia’s grip at the top of Group D loosen.

Having kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win against Georgia, Wayne Hennessey’s Wales can still pip Serbia and reach the finals automatically if they better Milivojevic’s team’s against the Georgians on Monday night. Chris Coleman’s side take on the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff knowing a win will clinch a play-off berth, but the Irish still harbour hopes of nicking it for themselves.

With South Korea’s spot at the tournament already locked in, Chung-yong Lee was in friendly action in Moscow against the hosts on Saturday. Lee played the full 90 minutes as his team lost 4-2 to Russia, although there was some small consolation for the Eagles winger who notched two assists.

However, Ghana won't be featuring in the finals after they drew 0-0 with Uganda, menaing they cannot top their group and gain entry to the tournament. Jeffrey Schlupp came on in the 78th minute for his 18th cap.

In under-21 action, Timothy Fosu-Mensah featured for the entirety as Holland beat Latvia 3-0 in a U21 European Championship qualifier, while Jairo Riedewald came on in the 73rd minute, and Kian Flanagan was a first-half introduction as the Republic of Ireland under-19s drew 0-0 with Azerbaijan, but didn't feature in their victory against Cyprus three days later.

Meanwhile, England kick-started their Under-17s World Cup campaign with a convincing 4-0 win over Chile in India, with Nya Kirby coming off the bench for the final 13 minutes. Their next game is on Wednesday against Mexico, before rounding off the group stage against Iraq on Saturday.

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