CHERRIES’ international stars were selected from the off by their country’s managers to help secure points on the road to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

European qualifying has reached the halfway stage, ahead of the sport’s biggest competition kicking off in just over a years’ time.

On Saturday 4 September,

Ryan Christie started and played 90 minutes as Scotland crept to a nervy 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Moldova in Glasgow.

Lyndon Dyke’s tap-in gave them an early lead and nobody in the Tartan Army could add to it, but the three points take Scotland up to third in the group behind second-place Israel and runaway leaders Denmark, ahead of the Vienna trip tonight.

Steve Clarke’s men are two points behind Israel, and just one ahead of next opponents Austria at the halfway mark of qualifying.

Orjan Nyland was again unused as Moi Elyounoussi added to an Erling Haaland penalty opener to give Norway a 2-0 away win over Latvia 2-0, getting three crucial points en-route to Qatar.

The group is a closely run contest, though, with victories from Turkey and The Netherlands later in the evening see them on 11 and 10 points respectively.

Only the group winner qualifies automatically, while the second advance to a play-off round.

On Sunday 5 September,

Chris Mepham played 90’ as a Gareth Bale hattrick spared Wales’ blushes and secured a 3-2 win in injury time over Belarus at Minsk.

Bournemouth Echo: Gareth Bale rescued Wales with a last-minute hattrick Gareth Bale rescued Wales with a last-minute hattrick

On top of the 10 Wales players absent because of injury, suspension and Covid-19, they were without a further three as a result of visa issues.

Mepham and his side found themselves 2-1 down at the break after Chris Gunter conceded a penalty and further shambolic defending allowed room for a second.

But they came through to keep hopes alive and ensure they are just one point behind second-place Czech Republic in qualifying, with two wins and three losses from five.