World Cup qualification disappointment for City duo
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
It proved a mostly disappointing evening as international duty came to an end for Norwich City players.
Teemu Pukki became just the fifth player to earn 100 Finland caps but he reached that milestone during a 2-0 home defeat to world champions France.
The Canaries striker had tested keeper Hugo Lloris with a shot on the turn at 0-0 but goals in the second half from star strikers Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe finished Finnish hopes of World Cup qualification.
Ukraine won 2-0 in Bosnia & Herzegovina to snatch second place in Group D and the play-off spot, with Pukki playing the full 90 minutes in Helsinki.
City midfielder Mathias Normann started as Norway were also pipped to a play-off place in Group G, with the 25-year-old Rostov loanee earning his 11th cap.
Normann played 74 minutes of a 2-0 defeat in the Netherlands, with Canaries number one Tim Krul an unused substitute as the hosts sealed top spot and qualification for Qatar 2022.
The 33-year-old had been called up due to fitness issues for Louis van Gaal’s first choice, Justin Bijlow, but it was Valencia keeper Jasper Cillessen getting the start. Former Norwich keeper Orjan Nyland played for Norway despite just two appearances since joining Bournemouth.
Van Gaal said Krul had preferred to stay in Norfolk initially to concentrate on club preparations rather than travel as cover but the Dutch boss has stated that he intends to take a ‘penalty specialist’ to the World Cup, having brought Krul on for a quarter-final shootout success at Brazil 2014.
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As things stand, Krul could be City's only representative at the tournament, although Scotland (Grant Hanley, Kenny McLean, Billy Gilmour), Poland (Przemyslaw Placheta) and Turkey (Ozan Kabak) all have play-off opportunities remaining.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Max Aarons earned his 15th cap for the England Under-21s during a surprise 3-2 friendly defeat in Georgia.
The City right-back was brought on in the 77th minute with the hosts 3-0 up against an understrength Young Lions team, helping to pull back two goals after replacing Leeds prospect Cody Drameh.
Archie Mair had earned his second Scotland U21 cap earlier in the break, playing all of a 2-1 home win over Kazakhstan during Euro qualifying.
The keeper was an unused substitute as the young Scots lost 2-0 to Belgium in Dundee though, with the 20-year-old still waiting to make his debut for League One loan club Lincoln City.
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