After 95 minutes of gripping action in Solna, referee Cüneyt Cakir blew his whistle for full-time in the first leg of the World Cup playoff between Sweden and Italy. There were jubilant celebrations as 50,000 Swedes celebrated their national team’s 1-0 victory over Italy. One of the heroes of the evening was Werder’s Ludwig Augustinsson, who played the full 90 minutes.
“To not count your chickens” is an old saying, meaning you should not celebrate before the goal has been reached. The Swedish national side have not confirmed their place at Russia 2018 but the team’s victory on Friday night puts them in a promising position going into the return leg on Monday at the San Siro. Jakob Johansson scored the winner in the 61st minute of what was an extremely hard-fought match in an electric atmosphere. Everyone at Werder will be hoping Augustinsson and co. will be able to finish the job on Monday.
Meanwhile, in Copenhagen on Saturday evening, Thomas Delaney and Denmark could only manage a goalless draw in their playoff first leg against Ireland. They didn’t manage to convert their dominance at home into a goal, with Leipzig’s Yussuf Poulsen coming closest just before the end. Werder’s rock Delaney was a pillar of the Danish midfield all evening and him and his teammates now have to get a result from Dublin on Tuesday to seal their place at the World Cup.
Jiri Pavlenka also represented his country yesterday. In the Czech Republic’s friendly against Qatar in Doha, Werder’s number one kept a clean sheet as his side beat the 2022 World Cup hosts 1-0.