Hooray, the dull boredom of the third International Break of the season is now beyond us and attention can turn back to The Premier League and all of its unrivaled excitement.
But, just before we delve into Matchday Eight of the Domestic campaign, it’s now time to check in with how our International Hammers fared in all four corners of the globe over the last week, as World Cup Qualification went down to the wire, who made it to Russia? And who tasted agony?
An impressive six Hammers were on World Cup Qualifying duty in Europe over the past week, with a large deal of them tasting glory.
The Break began with Aaron Cresswell and Joe Hart’s decisive Group F clash with Slovenia where The Three Lions picked up all three points to book a place at Russia 2018, Hart made a vital late double save but Cresswell was an unused substitute.
However, the left bask was granted a first start for his Nation by Gareth Southgate in the corresponding fixture away to Lithuania as England ended a superb campaign with a victory, while Hart assumed the role of Cresswell from the first game.
In Group B there would be another success story for defender Jose Fonte as his Portugal Side were able to topple Andorra and knock Switzerland off top spot to clinch an Automatic Qualification spot on goal difference.
However, the same could not be said for Robert Snodgrass, currently on loan at Aston Villa. Having overcome Slovakia last week in fortunate circumstances.
Scotland needed only a victory in Slovenia to secure a Play-Off spot but fell at the final hurdle as Snodgrass’ second-half equaliser failed to inspire a winner and Gordan Strachan’s men missed out on a fifth consecutive World Cup.
Meanwhile, Marko Arnautovic managed to inspire his already eliminated Austria to two consecutive victories over Group D winners Serbia and Moldova.
The winger started in both Games, scoring in the first and assisting the only goal of the second to continue his fantastic form.
Finally, on The Continent, Montenegrin International and young Hammer Sead Haksabanovic was an unused substitute in a home defeat against Denmark but then introduced in the 67th minute for Mirko Ivanic in a defeat in Warsaw, as his Nation missed out on Qualification by some distance in the tough Group E.
Four Hammers switched Continents over the past week for the penultimate round of Matches in Africa’s World Cup Qualifying.
Senegalese pair Diafra Sakho and Captain Cheikhou Kouyate were the most successful as they leapfrogged The Cape Verde Islands to top Group D.
Sakho, in his first International since 2014, netted Senegal’s first in an impressive 2-0 victory, three points against South Africa next month will ensure a first World Cup for the pair.
Elsewhere, Arthur Masuaku’s DR Congo kept their Qualification hopes alive with a win over Libya but will have to rely on an unlikely Libyan victory over Tunisia and one of their own against Guinea to Qualify next month.
To finish in Africa, Andre Ayew’s Ghana, who have already fallen out of the race to Russia in Group E, endured a goalless draw in Uganda over the weekend, they face Qualified Egypt in November to round off a disappointing campaign.
North, Central America, And The Caribbean:
Our only Hammer to travel to The North, Central America and The Caribbean came in the form of striker Javier Hernandez a Mexico Side who had already booked a trip to Russia heading into the week.
Chicharito netted in Friday night’s 3-1 home besting of Trinidad & Tobago as the Mexicans edged towards a record Qualification points tally, but was given “special permission” to miss the clash with Honduras as his Nation ended an impressive Qualification with a defeat.
Our only Hammer in The Oceania Qualifying bracket, New Zealand skipper Winston Reid, started as his Country were defeated in a friendly with Japan, they will take to the field in a tense World Cup Qualification Play-Off next month against Peru.
Some of the brightest young talent at the Club complemented the members of the Senior team on duty in the last week with as many as eight Hammer starlets in action.
We will start with the bright young duo of England U20 stars Reece Oxford and Nathan Trott as they helped their Team to 1-5 and 4-0 romps over Italy and The Czech Republic respectively.
Meanwhile, another duo at a higher tier, Josh Cullen and Declan Rice with The Republic of Ireland’s U21s, were held by Martin Samuelsen’s Norway but then sailed past Israel 3-0 in Dublin.
Samuelsen and his Norway Side were the 3-0 victors of Germany in their second October fixture and Rihards Matrevics kept a clean sheet for Latvia U19s in a 2-0 friendly win over FK RFS.
Also in the U19 category, Dan Kemp’s England U19s were condemned to defeat in The Czech Republic and struggled to a 2-2 draw in Slovakia and Anthony Scully’s Ireland U19s dispatched Cyprus and Serbia to make The EURO U19 Elite Round.
So, with all 20 of our Senior and Youth Hammer Internationals now returning home for East London as Domestic Football takes full focus once again.
Can some of our International superstars be as effective for Club as they have been for Country over these next few weeks? As Slaven Bilic’s first-team prepare for a trip to Turf Moor and Terry Westley’s U23s await the visit of Manchester United to The London Stadium.