International round-up

by Stuart Vose

Six players in action.

Emanuele Giaccherini featured off the bench as Italy took a huge step towards qualification for the 2014 World Cup last Friday.

The Azzurri ran out 1-0 winners over Bulgaria thanks to Alberto Gilardino’s header seven minutes before half time.

Giaccherini entered the fray just after the hour as the Italians secured an important win.

However, there was disappointment for Jozy Altidore as the United States saw their 12-match unbeaten run come to an end at the hands of Costa Rica.

Altidore came off the bench with 19 minutes to play but his side couldn’t find a way back into the game.

Seb Larsson and Sweden picked up three valuable points in World Cup qualifying with a 2-1 victory over John O’Shea’s Republic of Ireland in Dublin.

Larsson played the full 90 minutes as Anders Svensson scored the winner to mark his record-equalling 143rd international appearance.

Robbie Keane had given the Irish a 22nd-minute lead only for Johan Elmander to equalise just after the half-hour.

Meanwhile David Vaughan completed 85 minutes of Wales’ 2-1 defeat in Macedonia, while Ji Dong-won played the first half as South Korea beat Haiti 4-1 in a friendly in Incheon.