International Blues: Mirallas and Barkley Star off Bench

Clive Rose

The first set of games in the September international break saw several Toffees take the pitch for their country.

Two Evertonians made splashes off the bench in yesterday's qualifiers, as Ross Barkley came on as a substitute for England in the last 30 minutes, making his senior international debut, and Kevin Mirallas came on as a substitute in the 68th minute (for Marouane Fellaini, ironically enough) and scored an 89th minute goal that put Belgium out of reach, beating Scotland 2-0. Romelu Lukaku and Steven Naismith were both unused substitutes.

Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines also featured for the Three Lions in their 4-0 win over Moldova. Jags played the full 90 alongside Gary Cahill in center defense, while Baines came in at half for Ashley Cole. It appears safe to say Jagielka's spot in the starting 11 is secure for England's big game in Ukraine on Tuesday, but it is likely Roy Hodgson pulled Cole out at half because a yellow card would have seen him suspended for the match in Kiev, so Baines will likely stay glued to the bench.

New boy James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman both played the full 90 in Ireland's potentially debilitating 2-1 loss to Sweden. With three games remaining, Coleman and McCarthy's side sit 3 points back of second place Sweden, behind them on goal differential by 4. Ireland plays Austria Tuesday, in what is quite possibly a must win game.

Nikica Jelavic played 13 minutes off the bench in Croatia's 1-1 draw with Serbia. Croatia sits comfortably in second in their group, 5 points behind Belgium, with 2 games left to play for both squads.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Tim Howard's USA team squared off against Bryan Oviedo and Costa Rica in a hostile environment in San Jose. Costa Rica won 3-1, with much of the danger coming from Oviedo's wing. Howard perhaps should have stopped the third goal, but had little to do but take the ball out of the back of the net on Los Ticos first two scores.

In U-21 Euro 2015 qualifying, John Stones played the full 90 in a 1-0 win over Moldova, and Gerard Deulofeu was an unused substitute in Spain's 6-2 victory over Austria.

Additionally, between now and the end of Tuesday, Arouna Kone and the Ivory Coast play a meaningless final qualifier of the round against Morocco, Tim Howard and the USA play Mexico, Oviedo and Costa Rica play Jamaica, and Shane Duffy, Apostolos Vellios, Deulofeu, and Stones all play for their respective U-21 sides in Euro qualifying.

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