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International Round-Up: Disappointment In The Main, Especially for Ji Dong-Won

Ji Dong-Won, in happier times.
Ji Dong-Won, in happier times.

As is known now, one of the only ways to get through the international weekend is to pay attention to how our lot did. For me, it's what makes these weekends bearable. 

Over the first part of the break we've had plenty of stars in action, including Phil Bardsley, Sebastian Larsson, Nicklas Bendtner, Ji Dong-Won and a few more, so without any further waffling and time wasting, here's how they got on...

We'll start with Phil Bardsley, and his Scotland side traveled to sunny Cyprus for a 2-1 win. Bardsley started the game at left-back, in a game which proved to be far from friendly, and there was an early scare as one of several robust challenges throughout the game left Bardsley in a heap early on. He managed to carry on, but it wasn't one of his better days as aside from the occasional drive from distance, Bardsley's main fault came with the Cypriots goal as he was left for dead when Christofi paced past him, and finished beyond McGregor. Bardsley only managed a further 10 minutes after that. A game he'll want to put behind him despite the result.

To get it out the way, John O'Shea despite being in the squad for Ireland against Estonia didn't make the game as expected, whilst Keiren Westwood was an unused substitute again. Similarly in Wales, where in the home side's 4-1 win over Norway, David Vaughan was not fit enough to take any part. It's good that neither were risked with much more important games coming up for SAFC.

Perhaps the biggest event for SAFC fans this weekend was a duel between Sebastian Larsson and Nicklas Bendtner as the Danes hosted the Swedes. The home side came out 2-0 victors, with Nicklas Bendtner amongst the goals. Bendtner found himself in acres of space at the back post to recieve Michael Krohn-Dehli's cross, and send the keeper the wrong way from all of 8 yards. Bendtner was a pain in the backside for Sweden the whole game and was unlucky to be withdrawn with 20 minutes still to play.

As for Sebastian Larsson and his fellow Swedes, it was a massive off-night for them. They just couldn't get going at all, and Larsson was amongst them, his only major contribution to the game coming in the 90th minute when he was booked, proving he can pick-up stupid bookings for Sweden as well as for us.

And now we'll take a trip to the UAE. No, not to see Asamoah Gyan (we'll cover him later) but to see how Ji Dong-Won got on for South Korea against the a fore mentioned United Arab Emirates in a 2014 World Cup Qualifier. In what is becoming a theme this week, Ji will be wishing he never bothered turning up. In an awful 45 minutes, Ji produced the sum total of nothing for his country, a thought shared by his coach Cho Kwang-Rae.

Kwang-Rae is considering leaving Ji out all together against Lebanon on Tuesday. He said of the forward "Ji's condition was really bad, he wasn't good in training and I considered leaving him out, but this was worse than I thought" before twisting the knife in further "His balance and shooting timing is slow. I think he's physically really poor now. I don't know if he can get better by the time we play Lebanon"...

Not the most ringing of endorsements, and a bit of a worry as we head into the Fulham game (likely) without the services of Connor Wickham. If Ji can't stand up to the might of the UAE, I'd have my doubts about throwing him in against a beast like Brede Hangeland.

And we were due to end on some news about Asamoah Gyan against Sierra Leone, but the game was called off at the very last minute as Sierra Leone couldn't get themselves to Paris in time to play the game. Gyan should be in action on Tuesday however against Gabon.

And that'll do you all for this round-up. We'll have that Ghana v Gabon match, plus more including Seb Larsson against England, Ji if he can be bothered against Lebanon and we'll let you know how Ahmed Elmohamady fared against Brazil when we have another round-up on Wednesday.

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