Coral’s Euro 2016 qualifying team of the round: November 2014
Another round of Euro 2016 qualifying matches has come to an end, and they certainly did not disappoint punters or football fans. Coral’s football experts also cast their critical eyes over the performances of Europe’s best and brightest, so who made our all-star XI?
Goalkeeper: Wayne Hennessey
Wales stopper Hennessey may not be first-choice at club side Crystal Palace, but pulled off a virtuoso defensive display that shut out Belgium, ranked fourth in the world according to the FIFA rankings, in Brussels. An outstanding night’s work.
Right back: Paul Papp
A loan spell at Steaua Bucharest has helped to revive the career of Romania defender Papp. His brace ended Northern Ireland’s perfect start to Group F, with the Eastern European outfit now top of the table and odds-on 2/5 favourites to win this pool.
Centre back: James Chester
That battle in Belgium was the biggest test of Manchester United academy product Chester has faced for Wales. Now at Hull City, his burgeoning international career bloomed here, as he shackled that illustrious home attack.
Centre back: Ashley Williams
Wales skipper Williams was also imperious in Brussels. Young scamp Divock Origi and the more established Christian Benteke were both shackled superbly. Chris Coleman’s Dragons are now 11/8 to qualify for the France finals.
Left back: Andrew Robertson
Like Hull clubmate Chester, Scotland left back Robertson has burst onto the international scene and really caught the eye. Always giving the Tartan Army something to cheer, he got Gordon Strachan’s side on the front foot throughout, in a blood and thunder 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland that was refreshingly old school.
Defensive midfielder: Grzegorz Krychowiak
Poland anchorman Krychowiak has been stunning for Sevilla and marshalled proceedings against Georgia nicely here too. He even grabbed a goal to go with contributing towards a clean sheet. Arsenal could do worse than sign him. Poland remain 11/2 chances to win Group D, which also contains world champions Germany, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland.
Right wing: Antonio Candreva
Amid flares and fireworks launched by a partisan travelling Croatian support, Italy and Lazio wideman Candreva broke his international duck with a stunning opener at the San Siro. Azzurri boss Antonio Conte later pushed him deeper into a wing back role and he remained a threat. Italy are now odds-on 8/13 favourites for win Group H.
Attacking midfielder: Shaun Maloney
What a clever short corner routine and sweetly struck curler from Scotland midfielder Maloney to take them past the Irish. He just had to be included for his inventiveness. Strachan’s side are now 11/10 to qualify for Euro 2016.
Left wing: Xherdan Shaqiri
Bayern Munich and Switzerland star Shaqiri bagged a brace to bring his country back into contention for qualification in England’s pool, Group F. While the Swiss trail Roy Hodgson’s team by six points, their 4-0 win over Lithuania was much-needed.
Striker: Nicklas Bendtner
Ex-Arsenal frontman Bendtner also scored at the double for Denmark away in the hostile cauldron of Serbia’s Partizan Stadium. The loss proved too much for Dick Advocaat, with the ex-Rangers boss quitting his post as national coach of the Eastern European outfit.
Striker: Danny Welbeck
Two goals against Slovenia took England striker Welbeck onto five in four qualifiers. Enough said. The Three Lions are now 7/2 to maintain a perfect win record right through qualification for Euro 2016.