Mohamed Salah was the hero as Egypt qualified for their first World Cup since 1990 with a 2-1 win over DR Congo on Sunday evening.

The Liverpool winger opened the scoring in the 63rd before Arnold Bouka Moutou equalised with just three minutes to go to sink Salah to his knees, with Egypt needing victory to qualify.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man as Salah stepped up to send Egypt through with a 95th minute winning penalty, ending a 28-year wait for a major tournament.

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Staying in Africa and Sadio Mané capped off a fine week by helping his side move to the top of their World Cup Qualification Group with a 2-0 victory away at the Cape Verde Islands on Saturday.

Mane, who was shortlisted in the 30 nominations for the 2017 Ballon D’Or, and played 89 minutes for his country before being replaced by Cheikh Ndoye.

The win did come at a cost for both club and country, with Mané sustaining a hamstring injury that will keep him on the sidelines for up to six weeks.

In South America, both Phillipe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino helped Brazil book their place at next summer’s World Cup with positive results against Bolivia and Chile.

Coutinho started and played 66 minutes in the goalless draw with Bolivia with Firmino an unused substitute. Coutinho again started in the 3-0 win over Chile, and played 87 minutes before he was replaced by Firmino as they sealed qualification.

In Europe, Emre Can scored his first international goal in his 18th appearance as Germany booked their place at the World Cup with wins over Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan.

Can came on as a 65th minute substitute as they eased to a 3-1 win over Northern Ireland on Thursday. That earned him a start in Azerbaijan, and he took the chance by thundering in a 25-yard strike as they ended their campaign unbeaten with a 5-1 triumph just three days later.

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Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain both played a part as England secured World Cup Qualification with a 1-0 at home to Slovenia last Thursday.

Henderson featured for the entirety whilst record signing Oxlade-Chamberlain played 64 minutes before being replaced by Jesse Lingard.

Daniel Sturridge was an unused substitute for the clash at Wembley. Henderson was again at the heart of the midfield as the Three Lions ensured they finished the qualification stage unbeaten following a 1-0 victory in Lithuania.

The Reds skipper played the full 90 minutes whilst Sturridge came on in the 72nd minute, but Oxlade-Chamberlain was an unused substitute.

World Cup qualification ✅ Well done lads…. 👊🏻 #worldcup #russia

A post shared by Jordan Henderson (@jhenderson) on

Dejan Lovren also had reason to cheer after he recovered from injury and kept a clean sheet to help his Croatia side qualifying for the World Cup play-offs with a 2-0 victory in Ukraine.

The defender had missed their 1-1 draw with Finland due to back and Achilles issues, but returned and featured for the entirety in their squad World Cup Qualifier in Kyiv.

There was not such a positive outcome for Ben Woodburn as Wales fell just short of qualifying for next summer’s World Cup after a 1-0 defeat to the Republic of Ireland on Monday evening.

The Liverpool U23s winger came on as a 65th minute substitute in Cardiff, just days after coming on in the 91st minute as they moved to within 90 minutes of qualification with a 1-0 victory in Georgia.

CARDIFF, WALES – Monday, October 9, 2017: Wales’ Ben Woodburn looks dejected after the final whistle in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Group D match between Wales and Republic of Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Danny Ward was an unused substitute in both encounters but Chris Coleman’s side fell agonisingly short of going to consecutive major tournaments.

Another Liverpool player who suffered the same fate was Scotland defender Andy Robertson, who featured in both of their qualifiers as they missed out on the World Cup on just goal difference.

Gordon Strachan’s men kept their hopes alive with a 1-0 win over Slovakia on Thursday, but suffered a 2-2 draw in Slovenia as the Tartan Army failed to qualify for next summer’s major tournament.

Another Reds player that also won’t be at next year’s World Cup is the Netherlands midfielder Gini Wijnaldum despite his side securing back-to-back wins over Belarus and Sweden.

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LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Saturday, August 19, 2017: Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum and Crystal Palace’s Joel Ward during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Wijnaldum featured for the full 90 minutes in the 3-1 win in Belarus where he picked up a yellow card before the midfielder again started but played 71 minutes in the 2-0 victory at home to Sweden as the Netherlands bow out on goal difference.

Ragnar Klavan claimed an assist and kept a clean sheet as his Estonia side thrashed Gibraltar 6-0, but he was then cautioned in the defeat to Bosnia and Herzegovina just days later.

Elsewhere in Group H, Divock Origi and Simon Mignolet were both unused substitutes for their Belgium side over the international break as they beat Bosnia and Herzegovina and Cyprus.

In youth football, Dominic Solanke got himself on the scoresheet with a goal as England U21s maintained their good start to the UEFA U21 European Championship Qualifiers.

3 points vs Scotland. Happy to get a goal. Love for the assist @tammyabraham1 😉.

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Solanke featured alongside Liverpool team-mates Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold and grabbed their third goal in their 3-1 over Scotland, before being substituted in the latter stages.

All three were then rested in the 1-0 win over Andorra on Tuesday, with Solanke then only Reds player to feature in that game, coming on with 11 minutes to go.

Staying with the England youth sides and Rhian Brewster featured for 90 minutes as England U17s kicked off their World Cup campaign with a 4-0 victory against Chile on Sunday.

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BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND – Sunday, August 20, 2017: Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool and Sunderland at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Steve Cooper’s side with look to reach the knockout stages when they face Mexico and Iraq in their remaining group games on 11 and 14 October respectively.

Finally, Corey Whelan had another strong week, helping his Republic of Ireland side maintain their unbeaten start to their UEFA U21 Championship qualifying campaign.

Whelan played the entirety of both their fixtures, keeping back-to-back clean sheets in the goalless draw with Norway and the 4-0 victory over Israel.

About The Author

Anfield HQ's Academy Report. Assistant Media, Communications and Marketing Executive at Hampshire County Cricket Club, based at The Ageas Bowl, Southampton. Graduated with a 2:1 and was awarded a BA (Hons) degree in Sports Journalism in 2017. Previous work for BBC Radio Solent, LiveWire Sport and the Liverpool Echo.

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