Darko Churlinov and North Macedonia's World Cup dream lives on after win over Italy

Darko Churlinov and North Macedonia secured a shock victory over European champions Italy in their World Cup play-off semi-final on Thursday (24/3). Kerim Calhanoglu got some game time for the Germany U20s, whilst Blendi Idrizi and Marcin Kaminski did not feature for their national teams. Here is a round-up of how the quartet has got on in international action this week.

Darko Churlinov

Darko Churlinov can continue to dream of playing at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after the 21-year-old started in a North Macedonia side who knocked out European champions and on-paper favourites Italy, winning 1-0. The Schalke star played every minute in Palermo as Aleksandar Trajkovski scored the winner in the second minute of second-half stoppage time with a long-range strike.

North Macedonia now face Portugal, who defeated Turkey 3-1 last night in the other semi-final of this play-off path, in Porto on Tuesday (29/3), with the victors securing a place at the World Cup finals.

Idrizi and Kaminski go without game time

Kosovo won 5-0 against Burkina Faso in an international friendly in Pristina, but Blendi Idrizi didn’t get any minutes. The goals came courtesy of Fidan Aliti (3’), Astrit Selmani (23’), Mergim Vojvoda (53’), Milot Rashica (68’) and Toni Domgjoni (75’). Their next fixture is another friendly against Switzerland in Zurich on Tuesday (29/3).

Marcin Kaminski, who got called up to the Poland national team squad for the first time in almost three years, watched on from the bench as his country drew 1-1 in a friendly against Scotland in Glasgow. Kieran Tierney gave the home side the lead in the 68th minute before Krzysztof Piatek drew Poland level from the penalty spot in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time.

Poland’s next match on Tuesday (29/3) is of greater significance. Kaminski and Poland are playing their World Cup play-off final in Chorzow against Sweden, who eliminated Czech Republic (1-0 A.E.T.) to get one step closer to Qatar.

Calhanoglu starts in draw against Italy

Kerim Calhanoglu started for Germany U20s and played 64 minutes as they drew 1-1 vs. Italy in Ascoli Picono as part of an international round robin. Christian Wörns’ side took the lead thanks to Mainz’s Niklas Tauer (55’) before Edoardo Vergani levelled the scores (77’). There were also two red cards awarded to Freiburg’s Kenneth Schmidt (68’) and U20 captain Soufiane Messeguem of VfL Wolfsburg (85’).

The next match for Calhanoglu & Co. will take place against England in Colchester on Tuesday (29/3).

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