Specs heads the way

Jonathan Spector played his part at the United States moved a step closer to the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals by coming from behind to win 2-1 against El Salvador in Utah.

The 23-year-old West Ham United defender played the whole match at right-back, reprising the role he performed so admirably in helping the US to the FIFA Confederations Cup final in June. The US scored first-half goals from Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore after falling behind on the half-hour and then held firm after the interval.

The three points move the US into second place in the six-team final CONCACAF qualifying group, with the top three making it to the finals automatically. The US are level on points with first-placed Honduras and ahead of Mexico in third. Spector will hope to be in action for his 20th cap in Port of Spain on Wednesday night when the US play the first of their final three matches away to Trinidad and Tobago.


Radoslav Kovac
The versatile midfielder was an unused substitute as the Czech Republic battled back to earn a 2-2 draw at old rivals Slovakia. The point left the Czechs with little hope of reaching the finals as they are five points behind second place in UEFA qualifying Group 3. They have three home matches to come against San Marino, Poland and Northern Ireland.

Valon Behrami
Fit-again Valon Behrami will have been delighted with Switzerland winning 2-0 at home against Greece as it moved them three points clear at the top of qualifying Group 2. Behrami figured at the 2006 finals and could well be involved next year as well. He may return for the final two qualifiers early next month against Luxembourg and Israel.

Danny Gabbidon and Jack Collison
The club's two Welsh internationals face a major date on Wednesday when Wales try to keep alive the very slim hopes of reaching the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals with the visit of Russia. The 30-year-old Gabbidon has 41 caps while the 20-year-old Jack Collison, who already has six senior caps, will try to shake off a calf knock that kept him out of the Under-21's 2-1 win against Italy on Friday night.

James Tomkins, Junior Stanislas and Freddie Sears
The trio will aim to help England Under-21s take the second step towards the 2011 UEFA European U21 Championship in Denmark. The Young Lions began their Group 9 qualifiers against FYR Macedonia with a 2-1 win in Prilep on Friday and have headed to Athens to take on Greece on Tuesday. Tomkins has five caps to his name, while Stanislas made his debut against the Netherlands earlier this month in a friendly. Club-mate Freddie Sears - on loan at Crystal Palace - scored the equaliser against the Macedonians.

Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson
The Icelandic centre-back will make his second appearance of the 2011 UEFA European U21 Championship campaign away to Northern Ireland on Tuesday night. Eyjolfsson was already part of the team that lost 2-0 to the Czech Republic last month despite having only just turned 19.

Fabio Daprela
The 19-year-old left-back played twice for Switzerland Under-19s in home friendlies against Georgia on Wednesday and Friday last week. Daprela got the full 90 minutes in both matches, which were a 7-0 win and a 1-0 defeat. They have served as a warm-up for the 2010 UEFA European U19 Championship mini-tournament qualifiers against hosts Lithuania, Estonia and Croatia between 23 and 28 September.

Georg Grasser
The young midfielder was called up by his native Austria for their U20 friendly international against Germany in the west Austrian town of Altach but Friday's match was cancelled. Instead, the Austrian youngsters took on Swiss side FC Lustenau and ran out 3-1 winners. Grasser played the full 90 minutes.

Danny Purdy
A welcome goal for Purdy helped the Republic of Ireland Under-17s to finish a four-team international tournament with a 4-1 win against Romania last Friday. Purdy had played in the previous two defeats by Russia and Sweden earlier in the week. The Irish are preparing for the 2010 UEFA European U17 Championship mini-tournament qualifiers against Sweden, Bulgaria and Latvia between 27 September and 2 October.

Deniz Mehmet
The Academy goalkeeper was with Turkey as they warmed up for the FIFA U17 World Cup finals between 24 October and 15 November with a 4-1 home defeat by the Netherlands in Antalya.