A round-up of Royals players on international dutyIn what was a seismic week of international football with plenty at stake for Reading players on duty for their countries, we take a look how they got on.
Wales – A historic campaign for Wales saw the Dragons qualify for a major tournament for the first time since 1958. Royals right back, Chris Gunter, played every minute for his country as the Welsh secured qualification on Saturday despite losing 2-0 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Royals striker Hal Robson-Kanu has also been a pivotal figure in the qualifying campaign, leading the line for the Welsh. Wales signed off their qualification with a comfortable 2-0 home win against Andorra at Cardiff City Stadium, with goals from Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsay and Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale making sure of the result.
Northern Ireland – Oliver Norwood’s Northern Ireland qualified for Euro 2016 as group leaders, reaching a European Championship finals for the first time in their history. Their penultimate fixture against Greece was a chance to secure qualification and the Ulstermen made no mistake, comfortably beating the Greeks 3-0 at Windsor Park, with Royals midfielder Norwood providing an assist for the second goal. They followed this up with a difficult trip to Finland where a 1-1 draw saw them top the group and become the first ever fifth seeds in a European Championship qualification group to do so.
Republic of Ireland – Royals skipper, Paul McShane, was an unused substitute for the Irish in both their matches over the past week. The first of the two fixtures was an incredible night in Dublin as the Irish beat World Champions Germany, in what was a heroic defensive display. Ex-Royals star Shane Long came on in the second half for the Irish and burst through on goal, smashing his finish past Manuel Neuer scoring what turned out to be the winning goal. The win put Ireland within a win of automatic qualification for Euro 2016, but this turned out to be a step too far. A trip to Poland on Sunday evening saw the Irish fall short, going down 2-1 in Warsaw. Ireland will now go into the lottery of the playoffs with McShane in contention to fill the void left by Irish captain John O’Shea’s suspension, which he picked up against Poland. Stephen Quinn may also feature for the Irish in the playoffs as he was injured for last week’s round of games.
Oman – Royal's keeper Ali Al-Habsi captained his native Oman, helping his side hold Iran to a 1-1 draw in Muscat, meaning that a draw or better against India would put them top of the group. Al-Habsi ensured Oman saw the job through by keeping a clean sheet against India, with the team going on to win 3-0 putting them top of their group at the half stage of the second round of World Cup qualification.
Peru – Peru’s World Cup qualifying campaign hasn’t got off to the best of starts with two difficult fixtures against Colombia and Chile. Paolo Hurtado featured for the last quarter of an hour in the 2-0 defeat to Colombia, coming on to make an impact off the bench. The winger very nearly set up what could easily have been a stoppage time equaliser for the Peruvians, however Colombia quickly broke and doubled their lead late on. The Royals forward was an unused substitute against Chile in a 4-3 loss with Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez bagging a brace for the Chileans.
USA – Williams was an unused sub for the United States in their 3-2 AET loss to Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup. The match decided which team would qualify for the 2017 Confederations Cup and was played in front of 93,723 at the iconic Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Williams did however feature in the USA’s 1-0 defeat to Costa Rica, playing the full 90 minutes in New Jersey.