West Ham stars shine on international duty

File photo dated 2-09-2021 of England's Declan Rice gestures towards the fans as a flare is thrown o

England's Declan Rice gestures towards the fans as a flare is thrown onto the pitch during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying match at the Puskas Arena, Hungary. - Credit: PA

Declan Rice became the first West Ham United player to score a FIFA World Cup qualifying goal for England in 40 years as the Three Lions beat Hungary 4-0 on Thursday evening.

The Hammers midfielder struck England’s fourth goal to complete an emphatic victory for Gareth Southgate’s side in Budapest, beating goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi with a low shot from outside the penalty area. 

The goal, Rice’s second for his country on his 25th cap, was the first World Cup qualifying goal scored by a West Ham player for England since Trevor Brooking netted against the same opposition in June 1981. 

England's Declan Rice (left) celebrates scoring their side's fourth goal of the game during the 2022

England's Declan Rice (left) celebrates scoring their side's fourth goal of the game during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying match at the Puskas Arena, Hungary. Picture date: Thursday September 2, 2021. - Credit: PA

Rice was then an unused substitute in the Three Lions' 4-0 victory over Andorra on Sunday. 

Elsewhere, Tomáš Souček captained the Czech Republic to a dominant 1-0 win over Belarus in Group E in Ostrava, where fellow Hammers Vladimír Coufal and Alex Král also started for the victors. 


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Hellas Verona midfielder Antonín Barák struck the only goal of the game 11 minutes before half time as the Czechs kept themselves in touch with group leaders Belgium and strengthened their hold on second place. 

Souček captained the Czech Republic, Vladimír Coufal started and Alex Král appeared as a second-half substitute in a 3-0 Group E defeat in Belgium. 

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The Czechs produced a spirited performance in Brussels, but were beaten by goals from Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku, Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard and AC Milan’s Alexis Saelemakers at the Koning Boudewijnstadion. 

Pablo Fornals was an unused substitute for Spain on his return to the senior international setup. As it turned out, Spain were beaten 2-1 in Sweden in Group B, meaning they drop to second in the standings behind their hosts ahead of Sunday’s home game with Georgia. 

Making his first appearance for his country since November 2018, Fornals celebrated his third cap for Spain by setting up Pablo Sarabia to score Spain’s fourth in a 4-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying Group B win over Georgia in Badajoz. 

The Hammers midfielder had been on the pitch for less than three minutes when he played his part in a devastating counter-attack by squaring the ball for Sporting Lisbon star Sarabia to score. 

In African World Cup qualifying, Saïd Benrahma was introduced as a substitute on the hour-mark as Algeria thrashed Djibouti 8-0 in Blida. 

Antonio made his Jamaica debut in a CONCACAF qualifier in Kingston on Sunday evening. 

Wearing the No17 shirt, the West Ham forward started alongside the likes of former Hammer Ravel Morrison, Brentford’s Ethan Pinnock and Rangers’ Kemar Roofe. 

However, Panama proved too strong, winning 3-0 at the National Stadium to leave Jamaica bottom of the eight-nation table after two rounds of matches. 

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