Bastian Schweinsteiger and Edin Dzeko shine in UEFA World Cup Qualifying


Bastian SchweinsteigerOfficially halfway through our UEFA qualification run, the 2014 World Cup stage is beginning to take shape with its eventual participants all edging closer to securing their Brazilian berths.

However, for nations both big and small, such a feat is nigh impossible without a touch of star quality, a lot of which is on show during international weekends such as the one just passed.

This time around, it was the midfielders in particular who stood out more than any others in what proved to be a fruitful outing for the playmakers, all helping their countries to impressive results on the Road to Rio.


Bastian Schweinsteiger

An ever-present source of inspiration for Joachim Low’s Germany, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Bastian Schweinsteiger is still just 28 years old given his wealth of experience playing for both club and country.

While Kazakhstan may not be the most difficult of opponents, it was the manner in which the Bayern Munich maestro opened the scoring against the Group C minnows that one simply can’t help but admire.

A considerable driving force behind the Germans’ unbeaten qualification campaign thus far, “Schweini” has been perhaps his nation’s most consistent performer over the last six years or so and is set for a 2014 World Cup in the prime of his professional career.


Aleksandar Tonev

A date to remember for firsts, Aleksandar Tonev decided to begin his international scoring career with a bang by netting not just one, but three goals against Malta in what were his first goals for the Bulgarian team.

The Lech Poznan midfielder netted a hat-trick during his side’s 6-0 win over Malta, two of which came from outside the area, albeit thanks to some questionable Maltese defending.


Edin Dzeko

One of the more prolific teams in the UEFA Qualifying Group Stage thus far, Bosnia & Herzegovina can thank the scoring exploits of Edin Dzeko for their continuing rush towards Rio 2014.

The Manchester City man may not feel indisposable at the Etihad Stadium but there’s no question as to the striker’s importance to his national team,having netted the sixth and seventh goals of his World Cup qualification run against Greece.

As well as boosting his own tally, Dzeko’s weekend brace helped increase the gap between the Golden Lilies and their nearest Group G rivals, pushing the former Yugoslavian state that much closer to their first major tournament finals.


Rafael van der Vaart

Although their captain’s injury will undoubtedly be attributed as bad luck, Netherlands can perhaps be thankful that Wesley Sneijder pulled up with injury in the first half against Estonia, allowing Rafael van der Vaart to assert his influence on matters.

The Dutch were put through their paces in the opening 45 minutes, but Van der Vaart’s arrival quickly turned matters on their head after the Hamburg star opened the scoring jearly in the second period.

After notching a goal himself, the 29-year-old’s thoughts instinctively turned to provision and VDV was crucial in unlocking what was quite a stern Estonian back-line, helping teammates Robin van Persie and Ruben Schaken join him on the scoresheet.


Gylfi Sigurdsson

Another of those players to suddenly excel whenever they play in the colours of their home country, Gylfi Sigurdsson netted the two goals necessary to Iceland’s 2-1 victory over Slovenia.

Having initially gone 1-0 down, the Tottenham playmaker first clawed his side level with a pinpoint 25-yard free-kick (via, before then finishing with aplomb from inside the box and earning his team a vital away victory in their qualification run.

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1 Comment on "Bastian Schweinsteiger and Edin Dzeko shine in UEFA World Cup Qualifying"

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  1. Ali says:

    The Bosnians’ main nickname is the dragons not the golden lilies. The use of golden lilies has become practically extinct.

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