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Play-offs, goals and possible debuts

Niklas Stark appeared for Germany while Krzysztof Piątek, Vladimír Darida and Deyovaisio Zeefuik all scored for their countries. There were mixed feelings for Rune Jarstein and Peter Pekarík after the European Championship play-offs, while Matheus Cunha and Jhon Córdoba did not feature in their respective nations' victories in the early hours of Saturday morning. 

Jhon Córdoba was named in the Colombia first team squad for the first time ahead of the nation’s opening qualifier for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Carlos Queiroz’s side ran out 3-0 winners over Venezuela, but the new Hertha signing did not feature on the pitch. Matheus Cunha was also hoping for his senior international debut with Brazil, but he too watched from the bench as his team beat Bolivia 5-0. Both South American Herthaner will now be hoping for their respective debuts in the week ahead, as Brazil travel to face Peru (14th October, 02:00 CEST) while Columbia face a trip to Chile, their game kicking off half an hour later.  

Niklas Stark earned his second international cap on Wednesday evening (07/10/20), as Germany head coach Joachim Löw brought him on as a substitute in the 86th minute of the 3-3 draw with Turkey. The friendly match in Cologne saw Germany let a lead slip three times, with goals from Julian Draxler (45+1’), Florian Neuhaus (58’) and Luca Waldschmidt (81’) cancelled out by Tufan (50’), Karaca (57’) und Karaman (90+3’). The next fixtures for the 2014 world champions are UEFA Nations League matches in Ukraine and at home to Switzerland. Stark will no longer be in the squad for the upcoming fixtures.

Meanwhile, Krzysztof Piątek and Poland enjoyed a 5-1 friendly win over Finland. The striker assisted hattrick hero Kamil Grosicki for Poland’s second goal before hitting the back of the net himself to make it 4-0 later on. Piątek and his teammates now face a pair of Nations League matches against Italy and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Vladimír Darida was also successful on international duty, beating Cyprus in a friendly earlier in the afternoon. Hertha’s number 6 scored the winning goal from the spot in a 2-1 win for the Czech Republic. Darida will now face Israel and Scotland with Nations League points up for grabs.

Pekarík in final of play-offs – Lukébakio must remain patient

It was a bitter evening for Rune Jarstein and his Norwegian colleagues; in the semi-final of the play-offs for next year’s European Championship, the Vikings were defeated 2-1 by Serbia. The man of the match was Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who led his team to victory with a pair of goals. In contrast, Peter Pekarík’s Slovakia took an important step towards qualification for the Euros. After 120 goalless minutes against Ireland, Pavel Hapal’s team held their nerve better in the shootout, winning 4-2 on penalties and advancing to the play-off final. Northern Ireland await in the final after coming out on top against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Both players have Nations League matches with their countries in the upcoming days. In Brussels, meanwhile, Dedryck Boyata played all 90 minutes of Belgium’s 1-1 draw with Ivory Coast. Dodi Lukébakio, however, must continue to wait for his first cap. His next opportunity comes on Sunday, when the Red Devils face off against England in the Nations League.

Marton Dárdai’s friendly match with Germany U19 was cancelled due to a positive coronavirus test for one of the French players. It is not yet clear whether Monday’s second friendly against France will go ahead. Two of Hertha’s new signings were in action, however. Deyovaisio Zeefuik lined up for Netherlands U21, who comfortably beat Gibraltar. The 22-year-old Herthaner scored the Jong Oranje’s fourth goal in a 5-0 victory. The scoreboard in Strasbourg showed the same scoreline, with Mattéo Guendouzi cruising to a 5-0 win over Liechtenstein with France U21. The deadline day arrival led the team out as captain and completed the entire match.

A few hours later, it was Omar Alderete’s Paraguay in the spotlight as they faced Peru on matchday one of World Cup qualifying. Hertha’s new number 14 remained an unused substitute during a 2-2 draw. 

Teams, 10.10.2020