Chelsea and Man Utd midfield axis in Weekend International’s XI

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A weekend without Premier League action turned out to be better than expected, as a feast of goals and tight encounters filled the airwaves during the international break.

On a rare occasion when neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Lionel Messi scored (mainly because the latter didn’t play) it left the door wide open for some more unheralded names to feature in this, the first ever news.ladbrokes Weekend International’s XI.

No doubt the goal-scoring marvels will be hell-bent on rectifying the slight at their earliest opportunity once they are informed of the snub, but until then celebrate the history-making first team in what will surely become a household-name of a series:

Weekend-International-XI

Turkish keeper Volkan Babacan was unlucky not to keep a clean sheet against Holland, having made seven saves against the Dutch before conceding a 90th-minute strike from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Nonetheless, his performance was a large reason for Turkey’s point.

French man-mountain Raphael Varane is the only man in our back four not to net, but stopping the oddly-prolific-at-international-level Nicklas Bendtner from bagging so soon after the Dane nabbed a hat-trick against the USA earns our respect.

The rest of the back line all netted, with Slovakian right-back Peter Pekarik notching against Luxembourg, Switzerland’s Fabian Schar bulging Estonia’s onion bag and Slovenia’s Andraz Struna getting the all-important third to kill off San Marino.

Gareth Bale seems intent of sending Wales to a major tournament on his own, continuing his mission with a brace against Israel. Chris Coleman’s side are 9/2 to win Group B.

Their path may be blocked by Belgium however, who are 2/7 favourites thanks to Marouane Fellaini’s double against Cyprus. He is joined in midfield by Premier League rival Nemanja Matic, who scored a sumptuous bicycle kick.

The real story in our side belongs to Lee Casciaro who will be immortalised in pub quizzes the world over as he scored Gibraltar’s first ever competitive goal against Scotland.

Five goals were shared between our strike partnership, with Edin Dzeko shaking off the rust Man City’s bench has given him to keep the match ball for Bosnia, while Kyle Lafferty continued his Northern Ireland hot-streak with two more for Michael O’Neill’s side.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.