International XI: Euro 2016 qualifying team of the round
Euro 2016 qualifying reached a pivotal stage during a weekend which saw plenty of international shocks and massive results for the home nations. After matchday six of qualifiers here is the team of the round.
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Goalkeeper: Robert Almer
Marc Janko struck with a spectacular overhead kick to give Austria a 1-0 triumph over Russia, but in-form shot stopper Almer was the key aspect in obtaining a vital three points in Group G. The performances of the Hannover goal guard keeps his nation in a firm position for qualifying for the France finals.
Right back: Seamus Coleman
Republic of Ireland’s flying full back enjoyed great freedom down the right flank for the first hour in Dublin, until Scotland limited his option of getting further forward with a switch in tactics. However, Coleman was highly creative as usual and provided a constant outlet moving forward.
Centre back: Ashley Williams
A brave and dominant showing at the heart of the Welsh defence from Williams kept Belgium at bay, as Gareth Bale’s first-half strike inflicted the visitors with their first defeat since last summer’s World Cup. Chris Coleman’s men are now 11/10 with Coral to finish top of Group B after such a superb start.
Centre back: Jonny Evans
Northern Ireland secured a 0-0 draw with Group F leaders Romania, with Manchester United’s Evans playing a vital role in keeping a clean sheet and grabbing a point which sees his nation sit just a point adrift of their latest opponents.
Left back: Robbie Brady
On the opposite flank to Coleman, Brady was again utilised at left back and was a constant threat to Scotland at the Aviva Stadium. In a game which ultimately ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw, it tells a lot about the Irish attack when their full backs were possibly the most threatening source of creativity.
Centre midfield: Aron Gunnarrson
Bursting into the box to head home Iceland’s equaliser was the best moment of Gunnarrson’s strong showing in midfield against the Czech Republic, as he sent his nation towards an eventual 2-1 victory that sends them top of Group A.
Centre midfield: Jack Wilshere
Playing in a deeper role for England, Wilshere charged forward and struck his first two international goals to help Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions to claim a 3-2 win over Slovenia, keeping their perfect qualifying campaign in order (12/1 to win Euro 2016).
Right wing: Gareth Bale
Wales rallied to an impressive 1-0 victory over Belgium to edge closer to qualification for France, and it was Bale who was the hero yet again. The Real Madrid marksman endured a stuttering season in La Liga last term, but his international form hasn’t been affected as he clinically dispatched his nation’s vital winner.
Left wing: Cristiano Ronaldo
The indescribably brilliant Madrid menace struck his third hat-trick in three outings for club and country, and his ninth treble of the season, to give Portugal a 3-2 triumph over a defiant Armenia side. Ronaldo’s nation are 20/1 to win Euro 2016 next summer, after going top of Group I.
Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Sweden opened up a four-point lead in second place with a 3-1 triumph over Montenegro, thanks to a sensational solo goal from stalwart skipper Ibrahimovic. The PSG frontman missed out on featuring at the World Cup last summer and looked determined to send his country to France next year.
Striker: Robert Lewandowski
Poland were hanging on to a narrow 1-0 lead until the final few minutes as superb striker Lewandowski amazingly netted a four-minute hat-trick to give his side a commanding 4-0 triumph and keep them a point above world champions Germany at the summit of Group D.