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International duty: Nicklas Bendtner on target again, but Alexander Hleb is crocked

Damned internationals. It sounds as though Arsenal may have lost the services of Alexander Hleb this weekend after the Belarus skipper had to withdrawn at half time during his country’s victory over Holland.

Quite what the extent of Hleb’s injury is, I don’t know, but hopefully we’ll get some positive news about it from Arsene Wenger this afternoon.

However, the knock means that we have lost three midfielders in the past few days, as Mathieu Flamini and Abou Diaby also collected unspecified injuries while in training with France. And with Cesc Fabregas suspended for Wigan’s visit on Saturday, we’re more likely to see our Carling Cup midfield than our Premier League powerhouse.

Anyway, back to the internationals...

Hleb’s Belarus were 2-1 winners over the Dutch, in what was a pretty meaningless fixture, given that Holland had qualified for Euro 2008, while the home nation were already out of the reckoning.

Nicklas Bendtner nabbed his second goal in as many games for Denmark, opening the scoring as his country won 3-0 against Iceland. Bendtner also provided the assist for the final goal, but he will have to watch next summer’s tournament on TV as Denmark did not qualify.

Eduardo da Silva provided a magnificent slide rule pass for Croatia’s second goal in their 3-2 win over England at Wembley last night. So while Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea can give their English players the summer off, Eduardo will be one of the Arsenal players who doesn’t enjoy such a rest, worst luck.

Cesc Fabregas was substituted just after half time in Spain’s 1-0 win over Northern Ireland, but he was by far the best player on the park in the opening 45 minutes. He too will be involved in Euro 2008 and if he continues his current form, he’ll no doubt be one of the players of the tournament.

France ended their qualification campaign with a 2-2 draw away to Ukraine. Arsenal captain William Gallas and Lassana Diarra played the full 90 minutes, but Bacary Sagna was not in the squad. With a whole host of the Gunners’ French players in contention for a place in the Euro 2008 squad, it’s their country’s qualification that could hit Arsenal hardest at the start of next season.

With Poland already certain of a place at Euro 2008, Lukasz Fabianski was given a rare start for his country and he performed well, as a 2-2 draw in Serbia secured the Poles top spot in Group A.

Brazilian captain Gilberto led his country to a 2-1 win over Uruguay in Sao Paulo in their latest qualification game for the World Cup in 2010. Let’s hope Gilberto was on the first plane back after the match, as he could be needed on Saturday with our midfield as depleted as it is.

Jens Lehmann kept another clean sheet as Germany played out a goal-less draw with Wales. The big stopper has shown with his performances for his country that he is back on top form and Le Gaffer must be thinking seriously about whether he should restore him to the No.1 slot.

Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue’s Cote d’Ivoire coasted to victory in Qatar when they thrashed their hosts 6-1, with Chelsea’s Salomon Kalou netting a hat-trick and Didier Drogba missing a similar number of gilt-edged chances.

Tomas Rosicky was rested as his Czech team mates recorded a 2-0 away win in Cyprus. He’ll most certainly be in the Arsenal line-up against Wigan on Saturday after returning to London Colney earlier this week. Unfortunately for us Gooners, he’ll be another player on duty at Euro 2008 next summer.

I’ll keep you posted on any other injury news if and when Arsenal announce it over the next few hours.

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Posted by Gordon Masson on November 22, 2007 12:31 PM in Match Report| News| Players
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