Only a handful of Burnley players will represent their country at the 2018 World Cup after Republic of Ireland and New Zealand were defeated in respective playoffs.
Ireland hammered by Denmark
Ireland secured a positive goalless draw in their first leg against Denmark and returned to Dublin on Tuesday confident of securing their place in Russia. Yet a quartet of Burnley players could not manufacture a victory in the second leg as Ireland fell to pieces and could not cope with the inspirational Christian Eriksen.
The attacking midfielder scored a hat-trick as Kevin Long remained on the bench, whilst Jeff Hendrick, Stephen Ward and Robbie Brady all endured the emotional contest that resulted in a 5-1 defeat. Jonathan Walters could not prove his fitness to be considered to play but travelled with the squad.
Distant journey for Wood made even longer
Chris Wood's New Zealand also held their opponents to a draw in the first leg but the striker could not inspire his side to overturn Peru. The New Zealand team were subject to fireworks set off outside their hotel and military jets flying over during the early hours of the morning before they were defeated 2-0. Wood now faces the prospect of a 13-hour flight home with the game finishing just 60 hours before Burnley play Swansea.
Sean Dyche has admitted that his Irish players have been a bit flat in training since returning, whilst he will have to assess Wood's fitness on his return. “The Irish lads are okay. I wouldn’t say they’re great. They’re obviously very disappointed. These are really good guys and they have taken it as a bit of knock."
Dyche added, "Woody has played his part in what they did. He has had a niggly hamstring over there, so we will wait and find out more from his point of view on that. It’s a long journey so we’ll see him tomorrow [Friday] and wait to see how he is.”
Meanwhile, Jack Cork made his debut for England in a five-minute cameo against Germany.