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Carlos Vela on target as Arsenal's world stars play for their nations

With 20 Arsenal players away on international duty during the past 10 days, fingers crossed that they will all return unscathed from their exploits for their countries. Thankfully a number of our players were rested by their national coaches for this week's games and, as usual, our international stars are returning to club football today having recorded varying degrees of success on their travels.

A Thierry Henry brace for France against Lithuania knocked Scotland off the top of their qulaification group for Euro 2008. William Gallas started the game and played the full 90 minutes, while Lassana Diarra played for the first 69 minutes, only to be substituted by rumoured Arsenal target Hatem Ben Arfa. And it was Ben Arfa's assist 10 minutes later that provided Henry’s opener. Bacary Sagna remained on the bench for the game in Nantes.

Gilberto’s Brazil thumped Ecuador 5-0 in the World Cup qualifier. Incredibly the game was Brazil’s first home match in two years and the first at the Maracana stadium since 2000.

Carlos Vela (pictured) scored his first goal for the full Mexican team, but it wasn’t enough to hold Guatemala, who won the game 3-2. The game was supposed to be a friendly, but as both country’s were reduced to nine men, it was far from the amiable encounter most had predicted.

Both Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue travelled to Innsbruck as Ivory Coast took on Austria in a friendly. The hosts had not won a game in their previous eight internationals this year and Ivory Coast hadn’t conceded a goal in a similar number of games, but football is a funny old game and Austria won the encounter 3-2. There’s no word as yet about injuries, but just to worry us Gooners, Kolo was replaced at half time, while Eboue was substituted with 15 minutes left to play.

For once, Eduardo da Silva failed to score for Croatia on Tuesday night, when his adopted country ran out 3-0 winners in a friendly with Slovakia.

Alexander Hleb was also on the losing side as Belarus went down 2-1 to Israel in a friendly in Ramat Gan, but Hleb provided the assist for his nation’s counter.

Jens Lehmann might be buying another managerial voodoo doll today after Joachim Low left him out of the Germany team that faced the Czech Republic in Munich last night. Czech captain Tomas Rosicky also missed the game, but his countrymen did him proud by defeating their hosts 3-0 to book their place at Euro 2008. Germany have already qualified.

Nicklas Bendtner played the full 90 minutes as Denmark recorded a 3-1 win over Latvia, keeping their Euro 2008 hopes alive.

Robin van Persie returned to the Dutch set-up after suspension and played for the first hour as Holland defeated Slovenia 2-0 to leave them one victory away from Euro qualification.

A late goal by Michael Bradley was enough to secure victory for the United States over Switzerland in Basel. Philippe Senderos missed the game and it looks as if Johan Djourou may have picked up an injury as he lasted just 17 minutes of the friendly.

Spain were held to a goalless draw by their Finnish hosts as keeper Antti Niemi enjoyed a great performance to mark his first call-up in three years. Cesc Fabregas came on as a sub in the 73rd minute to replace Luis Garcia, but he couldn’t inspire his countrymen in what was the Finnish Football Association’s centenary game.

Hopefully all our internationalists will report back fit and healthy to the London Colney training ground today. We’ll bring you any injury news when Arsene Wenger gives his pre-match press conference ahead of the clash with Bolton.

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Posted by Gordon Masson on October 18, 2007 11:52 AM in Match Report| News| Players
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I went to yesterday's match Mexico v Guatemala. Vela IMO, was the best player out there. I thought he looked much better than Giovani. His ball control was very good and caused many problems for the defense.

Posted by: Daniel | October 18, 2007 5:55 PM

I remember watching this lad at the FIFA Under-17s about a year ago and he was a class finisher - looked just as good as Giovani but without the showboating. It's no surprise that he's adapted to senior internationals well - without playing a game for Arsenal! Against Brazil in the final last year - he was the best player on the park.

Posted by: Sport Blogger | October 18, 2007 7:32 PM

I thought Lehmann was suspended for the game after picking up another yellow card in the previous game? Or am I just imagining things?

Posted by: Jess | October 19, 2007 10:21 AM

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