Kieron Dyer played the last 17 minutes for England as they ensured they topped their Euro 2004 qualifying group with a 0-0 draw in Turkey. Dyer had one of his best games in an England shirt proving a constant threat on the break as the Turks chased a winning goal, although he was fortunate not to be injured by Rustu Recber’s attempt to decapitate him.
Our England Under-21 stars faired less well in Istanbul, with Shola Ameobi and Jermaine Jenas playing in the 1-0 defeat and Darren Ambrose an unused substitute.
On Thursday Michael Chopra and Steven Taylor both represented England Under-20s during their 2-0 win against Czech Republic, with Chopra scoring the opener as Les Reed’s team warmed-up for November’s World Championships in the UAE.
Scotland booked their place in the play-offs for Euro 2004 with a 1-0 win over Lithuania but did so without Steve Caldwell who didn’t even make the bench, although Brian Kerr and Gary Caldwell both played in Friday’s 3-2 victory for the Under-21s that saw them clinch top spot in their European Championships qualification group.
Wales’ group campaign ended on a disappointing note with a 3-2 home defeat by Serbia & Montenegro with Craig Bellamy and Gary Speed both in action, and they now wait to discover who they will face in the Euro 2004 play-offs.
Northern Ireland failed to score yet again as they lost 1-0 in Greece who clinched their place in Portugal, with Nikos Dabizas in action for the home side and Aaron Hughes for Sammy McIlroy’s team.
The Republic of Ireland were knocked out of Euro 2004 after losing 2-0 in Switzerland, with Shay Given starting and Andy O’Brien an unused replacement.
And finally, Hugo Viana’s lack of first team action at club level doesn’t seem to be affecting his international career too much as he played the second half of Portugal’s 5-3 friendly win over Albania. Surprisingly the Portuguese had to come from 2-1 down at the break to win.