Five Liverpool FC players were in action on Tuesday night as World Cup qualifying reached fever pitch.
Virgil van Dijk captained the Netherlands to automatic qualification with a 2-0 home win over Norway. This will be the big Dutchman’s first major international tournament, having missed Euro 2020 via injury, and the Dutch having missed out on qualification for 2018’s World Cup.
Neco Williams and Divock Origi started for Wales and Belgium in Cardiff. Belgium had already secured top spot, but Wales had all to play for. A 1-1 draw secured home advantage in the semi-finals of the qualification play-offs for the Welsh, with Leeds United winger Daniel James evening up the score after Kevin de Bruyne had put the Belgians up ahead in the 12th minute. Neco Williams played the 90 minutes at left-back, a constant attacking threat by cutting inside from the left. Divock Origi was taken off after 60 minutes, but Belgian manager Roberto Martinez has thankfully clarified that it just seems to be a dead leg, and Divock should be okay.
Mohamed Salah and Takumi Minamino also won in their respective fixtures. Salah came off the bench for Egypt, who had already qualified for the World Cup, as they won against Gabon 2-1, while Minamino featured for 60 minutes in Japan’s 1-0 victory over Oman.