Several Burnley players keep their World Cup dreams alive

Five Republic of Ireland Clarets and New Zealand's Chris Wood face qualification play-offs in November.

Several Burnley players keep their World Cup dreams alive
Brady celebrates but he could miss the play-offs (photo: Getty Images/Seb Daly)

No less than nine Burnley players could be on their way to Russia for the 2018 World Cup next summer, though six of those face the daunting prospect of qualification play-offs next month.

Heartbreak for Vokes but delight for Irish quintet

Five Clarets were involved in a crunch clash between Wales and Republic of Ireland on Monday evening that saw the Irish pick up a crucial victory against their rivals to leapfrog the Welsh into a play-off position.

Jeff Hendrick was in excellent form as he set up the winning goal for James McClean whilst Stephen Ward looked unbeatable in a solid back four under the guidance of Martin O'Neil. Kevin Long made a brief cameo during injury time but Jon Walters missed out through injury. Robbie Brady played the whole 90 minutes but could be suspended for the play-offs with an alleged headbutt on Ashley Williams under investigation.

However, there was heartbreak for clubmate Sam Vokes in the Welsh squad. The striker was introduced after Ireland took the lead but was unable to get his country back into the game and he now faces a summer of watching the World Cup from home.

Ireland will be looking forward to Tuesday's play-off draw although they will be hoping to avoid the likes of Italy in the two-leg clash. New Zealand and Chris Wood are also waiting to see who they will be facing from South America with Peru or Argentina the likely candidates.

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Trio hoping for selection next summer

There was delight in Iceland as they secured top spot in their group with victory over Kosovo and became the smallest nation to qualify for the competition. Johann Berg Gudmundsson is a key figure in the side that took Euro 2016 by storm and should be a certainty to feature in their squad.

Steven Defour and Tom Heaton could also be spending their summer in Russia as Belgium and England qualified with ease. Both players will be looking for a strong season in the top flight with their places on the plane not guaranteed as they struggle to break into the respective national first teams.