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International Round-Up: Five In Action

We take a look at how the five Sunderland players who had a part to play in the second round of international games got on.

Emanuele Giaccherini in action against Norway
Emanuele Giaccherini in action against Norway
Claudio Villa

Steven Fletcher came on as a second half substitute and made an impact as Scotland were narrowly defeated by Germany in Qualifying Group D of Euro 2016. The world champions never showed the form that saw them lift the World Cup during the summer, as they held a 1-0 lead at the half-time interval.

With just over 30 minutes left, Fletcher was introduced and immediately looked more lively than he has during his Premier League appearances this season and soon set-up an equaliser for the visitors, with his neat turn and through ball setting up Watford's Ikechi Anya who finished smartly after a good run.


Unfortunately for Scotland Thomas Mueller pounced on a loose ball to score his second of the game and despite a late penalty appeal by Fletcher for handball, the Germans ran out 2-1 winners.

In the same group, John O'Shea played the full game as Ireland recorded a valuable 2-1 win in Georgia. Aiden McGeady gave the visitors a first half lead before Georgia hit back with an astonishing shot from range six minutes before half time but McGeady had the last laugh as his quick turn and shot evaded the home goalkeeper in injury time to leave Ireland top of the table with Germany and Poland on three points.

In Group G, Seb Larsson started the game for Sweden but gave away a penalty with just seven minutes on the clock as he was adjudged to have blocked a cross with his arm, David Alaba then stepped up to fire Austria into a 1-0 lead. That lead only last five minutes before Turkish born Erkan Zengin fired Sweden level and he almost scored a second soon after but was unlucky to see his shot cannon back off the crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten. Larsson was booked on the hour mark for a foul of Alaba but his side will be satisfied with a draw after being under the cosh for most of the game.

There was heartbreak for Mavrias in Greece u21's final qualifying game for the European Championship, despite Greece beating rivals Poland 3-1. Greece took the lead on the 12 minute mark after Mavrias stopped the ball going out of play to the left of the goal and cut the ball back for Nikos Karelis to apply a simple finish but the lead only last 12 minutes before Poland equalised through Kacper Przybylko. Mavrias was substituted with 20 minutes left after a good game, including going close twice around the hour mark but the drama was not over.

With the clock ticking down Greece's hopes of qualifying looked dead and buried with their nearest rivals, Sweden, winning 3-1 at home to Turkey but the visitors scored twice in quick succession with just four minutes left on the clock to level it up. Giannis Gianniotas scored twice at the end of the game to win it for Greece and spark mass celebrations as news of Turkey's comeback came through but that elation turned to disbelief as Oscar Hiljemark won it for Sweden in injury time, which saw the Swedes finish one point clear of both Greece and Poland.

In better news for Sunderland players, Emanuele Giaccherini again played the full 90 minutes under his old Juventus coach Antonio Conte as Italy won 2-0 in Norway. In what was a straight forward win, Simone Zaza gave Italy an early lead and Simone Bonucci wrapped up victory with 30 minutes remaining.

Giaccherini had another tidy game and came close to scoring but his snapshot was well saved by Orjan Nyland, he did have another chance to get on the scoresheet but made a mess of his shot when he got on the end of Mattia De Sciglio's pull back.

Finally, Costel Pantilimon was an unused substitute as Romania won 1-0 away to Greece in Group F.