STOKE CITY’S international stars are back on their travels . . . and they will be hoping for better fortunes after a night of mixed results on Friday.
Seven players will be involved in World Cup qualifiers once again as their respective countries take another important step in the bid to reach Brazil.
Captain Ryan Shawcross heads for Poland with the England squad, hoping that he may get the chance to make history in Warsaw on Tuesday.
Shawcross was an unused substitute for the comfortable 5-0 victory over San Marino as he aims to become the first City player for 28 years to represent England in a full international stretching back to Mark Chamberlain’s final cap in October 1984.
Other winners on the night were American pair Geoff Cameron and Maurice Edu as they snatched a late victory over Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean.
The game at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium appeared to be heading for a 1-1 draw after Dexter Blackstock had cancelled out an Eddie Johnson opener, but it was Johnson who popped up again with the winning goal two minutes into injury time.
Cameron played for the full 90 minutes in that encounter, while Potters team-mate Edu was an unused substitute in the CONCACAF Group A encounter.
The USA now host Guatemala, who sit at the top of the Group with them on 10 points from five matches, at Sporting Kansas City’s Livestrong Park.
Ironically enough, their last home match was at Columbus Crew and both of these stadiums were, of course, venues on the Potters’ pre-season tour.
While England and the USA claimed wins on Friday evening, Asmir Begovic kept a clean sheet in Bosnia’s creditable goalless draw out in Greece, so they will be aiming to build upon that when they host Lithuania in Group G on Tuesday night.
Midfielder Charlie Adam and his Scotland team-mates face another tough away trip, this time to joint Group A leaders Croatia after the summer-signing from Liverpool was a second half substitute in his country’s 2-1 defeat to Wales on Friday.
Finally, Jon Walters and Marc Wilson fly to the Faroe Islands with a Republic of Ireland squad still smarting from a 6-1 defeat inflicted by Germany at the Aviva Stadium, Walters playing the full 90 minutes while Wilson was an unused substitute.