Around The World

Last updated : 09 September 2007 By Jim Bonner
Qualifiers for Euro 2008 and the African Nations Cup involving Pompey players and their nations were played this weekend. Here's what happened...

David James sat on the bench for the whole game against Israel where England ran out comfortable 3-0 winners. Paul Robinson had nothing to do all game as Israel failed to threaten his goal. I expect Russia will make sure he is busier on Wednesday.

I disagree with Tony Adams' statement that he made earlier in the week when he said Robinson shouldn't be dropped because it would destroy his confidence.

Top goalkeepers should have a strong mentality and if being dropped shatters him, then his status as an international 'keeper should surely be questioned.

After all, James has made worse errors than the one Robinson made against Germany. However, he hasn't been "shattered" but instead he's got his head down, performed well for Pompey and is now recognised as the best goalkeeper England currently have.

The appearance of Niko Kranjcar at Euro 2008 looks ever more likely after Croatia beat Estonia 2-0 and therefore still top the group England are also in. Kranjcar played an hour before being subbed but will probably start away at Andorra on Wednesday.

Hermann Hreidarsson played the full 90 minutes for Iceland as they hosted Spain and led for 86 minutes until Iniesta equalised for the 10 men after Xabi Alonso was sent off. No doubt Hermann will see Alonso and Torres again on Saturday.

Martin Cranie played the full game for the England U-21's away at Serbia and they recorded an impressive 3-0 win.

Onto some African news now and the January losses of Kanu and John Utaka were confirmed yesterday when Nigeria beat lowly Lesotho 2-0 to ensure that they finished top of their qualifying group, meaning they will be heading to Ghana.

Papa Bouba Diop will also be missing as Senegal booked their place for Ghana 2008 with a 5-1 thrashing of Burkina Faso. The "Wardrobe" started, but did not finish the game for the Teranga Lions.

Benjani will be staying here come January as Zimbabwe couldn't qualify for the tournament prior to this weekend. His nation restored some pride by beating Malawi 3-1 today.

The only question left to be answered regarding the availability of Pompey players is whether Djimi Traore will be here or not. Politics mean that Mali do not play their group decider with Togo until the 12th of October, with both teams in the group on 9 points.

Pompey flop Collins Mbesuma will be at the tournament after Zambia went to South Africa and won 3-1 whilst ex-Pompey striker Lomana LuaLua will be hoping that DR Congo will qualify as one of the best second placed sides after they could only manage a 1-1 draw with Libya, allowing minnows Namibia to snatch their qualifying spot after 3-2 win at Ethiopia.