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International Round-up: Larsson's World Cup Dream Over

There were a few Sunderland players involved in the second round of fixtures during this international break, here's how they did.

Seb Larsson competes with Raul Meireles
Seb Larsson competes with Raul Meireles
Martin Rose

In Tuesday's big World Cup Qualification Play-off Second Leg, Seb Larsson's Sweden put up a spirited performance but were unable to overcome a Cristiano Ronaldo masterclass, as Portugal won 3-2 on the night and 4-2 on aggregate.

Portugal started the brighter but the hosts should have taken the lead as Larsson collected the ball inside the six yard box but rather than shoot first time he took a touch which gave Paolo Bento's men time to block his eventual effort. Seb was made to rue that missed opportunity almost immediately, as Portugal took the lead when Ronaldo raced onto a through ball and finished with aplomb from just outside the area.

Sweden then rallied in style as Zlatan Ibrahimovic finally made his mark on the tie with two quick fire goals to put Sweden level on aggregate but Ronaldo showed why he is the odds-on favourite for this year's Ballon D'or by wrapping up Portugal's qualification and his hat-trick with two more quality goals.

Elsewhere, Tuesday was a quiet night for Sunderland's other international players. Steven Fletcher was rested for Scotland's 1-0 win in Norway, as was Kieren Westwood for Ireland's trip to Poland. Also in that Ireland game, John O'Shea came off the bench after an injury to Sean St. Ledger after just half an hour of the 0-0 draw and was almost immediately sent off for deliberate hand ball, luckily for him the referee took pity on him and only issued a yellow. He grew into the game after that and helped Ireland's backline keep Robert Lewandowski quiet.

Ki Sung-Yueng started for South Korea and it was from his corner that Kim Shin-Wook put South Korea ahead. Ki was then denied a goal by a good save from the Russian goalkeeper shortly after Fabio Capello's team had equalised. Ki made way at the hour mark, a minute or two after Russia took the lead, with Ji Dong-Won entering the game with 20 minutes remaining but he was unable to make an impression as Russia held on for a 2-1 win in Dubai.

Jozy Altidore played 90 minutes as the USA lost 1-0 to Austria in Vienna. In a game of few real chances, with Altidore unable to find his mark with the half chances that came his way, it was the hosts who won the game when Marc Janko supplied the finish to Gyorgy Garics' cross.

Mavrias also played 90 minutes as Greece u21s lost 3-1 in Poland. In what was an inconsistent game for the winger, as he started well - faded - then improved late on, he still managed to grab an assist, which will have impressed the Sunderland scouts in attendance, as he set-up Karelis to smash home from an acute angle.

Finally, Emanuele Giaccherini was on target for Italy in their 2-2 draw with Nigeria at Craven Cottage. Italy dominated most of the match and deservedly went ahead when Mario Balotelli set-up Giuseppi Rossi. The amazingly named Bright Dike headed the Africans level and Newcastle's Shola Ameobi volleyed The Super Eagles ahead just before half-time. Just after the interval Giaccherini deservedly equalised for Italy as he finished off a team move and calmly stroked the ball past the goalkeeper, which you can see below;


That's it for the round-up, thankfully every player came through this international break unscathed and Celustka, Mavrias and Giaccherini should return with a confidence boost after scoring for their country.

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