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Glory, heartbreak, drama: Leeds United international roundup

Four Leeds players were in action for their national sides in the last two days.

FBL-EURO-2020-2021-GEO-MKD
Ezgjan Alioski (centre) celebrates with his teammates as North Macedonia qualify for the 2021 European Championships - their first ever major tournament.
Photo by VANO SHLAMOV/AFP via Getty Images

Liam Cooper was an unused substitute in Scotland’s 2021 Euros qualifying play-off against Serbia, but he will not mind after watching his nation qualify for their first major tournament since 1998.

Hopes were dented when Luka Jovic equalised in the final minute of normal time, and goalkeeper David Marshall had to be at his best to keep the Scots in the game, but the dream became reality after the veteran saved Aleksandar Mitrovic’s penalty.

Cooper may have been on the sidelines as he became the 14th Peacocks player to qualify for the European Championships since 1960 (via @lufcstats), but four of his club teammates gained international minutes elsewhere over the past couple of days, and this is how they got on.

Ezgjan Alioski - Georgia 0-1 NORTH MACEDONIA (Euros qualifier)

Joining the Leeds captain at next summer’s European Championships will be Ezgjan Alioski, and there are severe doubts as to whether the continent is ready to meet the lovable madman.

His North Macedonia side overcame Georgia 1-0 in their play-off final thanks to a goal from 37-year-old Goran Pandev, and Alioski played an important part as the nation qualified for their first ever major tournament.

The 28-year-old won six duels, attempted five crosses, won four tackles and completed three key passes in another brilliant performance from the national hero.

Having scored a dramatic late penalty against Georgia in the Nations League, Alioski is certainly enjoying himself on the international stage, and will thoroughly deserve his place at the Euros next year.

Stuart Dallas - NORTHERN IRELAND 1-2 Slovakia (Euros qualifier)

Northern Ireland v Slovakia - UEFA EURO 2020 Play-Off Finals
Stuart Dallas sustained an injury in the first half of the match, but went on to complete 120 minutes.
Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

While North Macedonians rejoiced having watched their side make history, Northern Ireland fans were left in despair after losing in extra time in their play-off final against Slovakia.

Playing the full 120 minutes, Leeds fan favourite Stuart Dallas gave everything as his side looked to qualify for a second successive Euros tournament, but their 87th-minute equaliser from an own goal came to nothing as Slovakia snatched a winner after 110 minutes.

Only three players had more touches than the 29-year-old (100), while he also recovered the ball 10 times, attempted eight crosses, won five duels and completed three key passes in a busy display.

The match marked an important milestone for the former Crusaders player, who earned his 50th international cap, making it all the more heartbreaking to see Northern Ireland fall at the final hurdle.

Robin Koch - GERMANY 1-0 Czech Republic (friendly)

Germany v Czech Republic - International Friendly
Robin Koch performed well as he earned his fifth international cap with Germany.
Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Having come under the spotlight in Leeds’ last two Premier League games, during which the Whites shipped eight goals, Robin Koch will be relieved to have put in a promising display for Germany in their friendly victory over the Czech Republic.

The 24-year-old, making his fifth international appearance, completed the full 90 minutes alongside Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger.

Boasting a passing accuracy of 86% and dominating the air, Leeds fans will hope this solid display boosts Koch’s confidence ahead of the Whites’ upcoming clash against Arsenal.

Mateusz Klich - POLAND 2-0 Ukraine (friendly)

Poland v Ukraine - International Friendly
Mateusz Klich had an off-day in Poland’s win over neighbours Ukraine.
Photo by PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images

Another Leeds representative to complete 90 minutes on the international stage was Mateusz Klich, although he failed to impress according to Polish website Weszlo, who branded him with a three out of 10 match rating.

They went as far to suggest that selecting Klich for this fixture was like going a man down, with the 30-year-old giving the ball away on numerous occasions.

Given how well he has settled into the Premier League, Whites fans can probably give the midfielder the benefit of the doubt and assume this supposedly torrid display was a one-off.

Poll

Which Leeds player impressed you most on international duty?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Ezgjan Alioski vs Georgia
    (4 votes)
  • 42%
    Stuart Dallas vs Slovakia
    (8 votes)
  • 36%
    Robin Koch vs Czech Republic
    (7 votes)
19 votes total Vote Now

Which Leeds player put in the best performance in this round of international fixtures? Vote in the poll above (viewable in browser) and let us know at @ThruItAllLUFC.

Keep an eye out for Whites players in this weekend’s Nations League fixtures, and look out for the corresponding international roundup on Monday!