Darko Churlinov helps keep North Macedonia’s World Cup dream alive

Three Schalke 04 players enjoyed successful evenings with their national teams: Darko Churlinov’s North Macedonia picked up a win in World Cup qualification, as did Ko Itakura’s Japan, and Mehmet Can Aydin was part of the Germany’s U20 squad who won an international friendly: only one Royal Blue actually featured in any of these fixtures, however.

Darko Churlinov Nordmazeodnien

North Macedonia climb up to second place

Darko Churlinov had a great night with North Macedonia as his side comfortably beat Armenia 5-0. They took the lead through Aleksandar Trajkovski of Aalborg BK (22’) before UD Levante’s Enis Bardhi scored a hat-trick (36’, 66’, 90’), including two penalties, and Milan Ristovski of Spartak Trnava also contributed to the rout (79’). Churlinov started the game and the winger played 77 minutes in Yerevan.

Romania played a 0-0 draw with Iceland later that evening which meant that North Macedonia overtook their opponents in the Group J table, and are now in second place on 15 points behind Germany (24 points). With just one match to go in qualifying, head coach Igor Angelovski’s side have a one point gap ahead of Romania and can secure a World Cup play-off place with a win over Iceland on Sunday whilst Romania travel to Liechtenstein.

Itakura doesn’t feature against Vietnam

Japan secured an important 1-0 victory over Vietnam thanks to a goal from Jun’ya Ito of KRC Genk (17’) in the third round of Asian World Cup Qualification, but Ko Itakura did not take part in the match. He was an unused substitute for the “Blue Samurais” but he could still be pleased with the result at full-time. The win in Hanoi puts Japan on nine points at the halfway stage of this round of qualification and saw them climb to third place in Group B.

Only the group winners are guaranteed a place at the World Cup from this confederation, and the third-best team must go through a play-off. Japan’s next opponents are Oman on Tuesday (16th November) who are currently two points behind them in fourth. Saudi Arabia lead the group on 13 points and Australia sit in second place with ten points.

Aydin watches prestigious win from the sidelines

In the first of Germany U20s’ two fixtures in this international break, the side celebrated a prestigious 3-2 victory over France. Mehmet Can Aydin did not play in this match in Clairefontaine, as 1. FSV Mainz’s Paul Nebel (20’) and Hamburger SV’s Faride Alidou (53’) turned the game around for Germany after France took the lead through Yoann Cathline (19’). Mohamed Achi drew France level in the 77th minute before Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer of Dynamo Dresden scored an 84th-minute winner for the national youth-team side.

The U20s’ next test is against Portugal on Monday (15th November), and it promises to be an exciting game.