International Roundup: Larsson & Altidore Star for Their Countries

USA TODAY Sports

If you're wondering why the weekend was dull and you had a bit more time on your hands, it's because international football was played. Here's what happened last Friday and last night for all the Sunderland players out and about.

Korean pair Ki Sung-Yeung and Ji Dong-Won both were in action late last week in the sides 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Brazil, courtesy of goals from Neymar and Oscar.

Both started the game, with Ki lasting 51 minutes and being pretty uneventful if tidy in the middle of the park, while it will come as a surprise to some that Ji actually had a reasonable game, both creating chances and looking the closest any Korean came to actually getting the ball in the net.

Ki also started and played the full game as Korea beat Mali 3-1, while Ji was an unused substitute for the Friendly encounter.

Also on Friday Seb Larsson's Sweden took on Austria, claiming a 2-1 victory and securing them a World Cup Play-Off spot.

Larsson completed the full 90-minutes for the Scandinavians in midfield and played a significant part in the first goal as he cut inside to find Zlatan Ibrahimovic out wide, who in turn crossed for Norwich City's Martin Olsson to head home. Ibra himself grabbing the winner later on.

Larsson put in another superb performance as he captained the Swedes in a 3-5 home defeat to Germany.

After just 6-minutes the midfielder put through a delicious ball for former Sunderland man Tobias Hysen to open the scoring. Sweden's third goal was Larsson to Hysen again as he guided a freekick into his path to lash home beyond Manuel Neuer.

David Vaughan started for Wales as they beat Macedonia last Friday night, 1-0 at the Millenium Stadium. His cross-come-shot in the 50th minute came close to breaking the deadlock when it came crashing back off the bar. Aside from that he was generally quite tidy and went about his business well in a good win for the Welsh.

Vaughan also played his part with a very confident performance against Belgium, as Wales drew 1-1 last night. A pair of decent displays will have him coming back to Wearside in confidence. Which may well be a worry.

John O'Shea was fortunate enough to miss the Republic of Ireland's 3-0 defeat at the hands of Germany through suspension, while Keiren Westwood missed both games through injury.

O'Shea however did play against Kazakhstan, and scored! O'Shea captained the side, and stole in for the first goal of the game when in a bit of a goalmouth scramble, he volleyed home after Richard Dunne couldn't bundle the ball in at the first attempt.

Other than that, a relatively quiet night for O'Shea, who is currently on the receiving end of some criticism on Wearside.

Jozy Altidore scored for the USA in their dead-rubber against Jamaica last Friday, as they claimed a 2-0 win over the Reggae Boyz.

Altidore had a quiet game, but as said he did manage to get a goal. We'd be more than happy for that to happen in a Sunderland shirt at the moment. Edgar Castillo capitalised on a defensive error by the Jamaicans and crossed for an unmarked Altidore to tap into an empty net from six-yards out.

Jozy was also a captain on Tuesday night as Altidore lead the line, although didn't score in the USA's 3-2 win over Panama. Altidore came close top opening the scoring on 16-minutes, but couldn't find a way past Jaimie Penedo having done the majority of the work already with his size and strength.

Alidore was replaced on 76-minutes by Terrence Boyd.

Charis Mavrias played 75-minutes for the Greek Under-21 side as they lost 1-0 to neighbours Turkey on Friday. He got the same amount of game-time in his national side's 4-0 win over Malta last night.

Ondrej Celustka was denied a debut for the Czech Republic as he was an unused substitute in the sides 4-1 win. He also found himself to be an unused substitute against Bulgaria.

Emanuele Giaccherini was also an unused substitute as Italy drew 2-2 with Denmark. Giaccherini was also an unused sub as Italy drew 2-2 once again. This time with Armenia.

With the World Cup Qualifiers closed, barring a few play-offs, there's a number of Sunderland players we could see in Brazil next summer. Ki Seung-Yong, Ji Dong-Won, Jozy Altidore and Emanuele Giaccherini will all be on the plane to Rio, while Seb Larsson will get a shot at the tournament as Sweden fall into the play-offs.

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