Who was Manchester United’s Star Man over the international weekend?

Man of the Match manunited.uk

Sergio Romero

If Argentina win the FIFA World Cup in Russia next summer, then every football fan around the world will look back to this past week and recognise how close they were to not even qualifying.

International football, especially in the period leading up to major tournaments, has become a beacon of fans’ frustrations, with a significant proportion who prefer the fast-flowing fluidity of domestic football ahead of the laborious and lethargic international qualifiers.

While that theory may be true in England’s group in Europe, it wasn’t evident in the South American qualifying campaign.

The 2014 runners-up began the day sixth in the group, knowing only a top-four place would see them qualify automatically for Russia.

Argentina had previously drawn 0-0 at home to Peru, Romero making his second clean sheet in just three games.

Failure to see out games had cost the Argentines though, and there was a real danger that the football-mad nation would miss out on their first World Cup since 1970.

Diego Maradona once said when people succeed it is because of hard work. Luck has nothing to do with success.

It was no surprise then to see Argentina battle back in the face of adversity, an indelible team spirit from Romero to Lionel Messi evident on the pitch.

Even though Miguel Ibarra found space just outside of the box inside 40 seconds to fire home past Romero, the United number two helpless to stop the fierce shot into the corner, the whole team pulled together and somehow triumphed against the odds.

Many football pundits and commentators view Argentina as a one-person show, and although no other player has scored for the nation in the past 11 months apart from Messi, including the infamous hat-trick last night, you could tell that every player in the white and blue striped shirt had to perform at their best.

And this includes Romero. While Messi stole the show, the keeper kept calm at the back, ordering each defender into position on countless occasions, and two strong saves to maintain Argentina’s lead optimised Romero’s commitment.

Since 2014 the keeper has made more appearances for his country than he has at club level, perhaps not a shock given David De Gea is at Manchester United.

Other United players who caught the eye included Nemanja Matic and Henrik Mkhitaryan, both scoring for Serbia and Armenia respectively, while Victor Lindelof played 90 minutes in Sweden’s 8-0 obliteration of Luxembourg.

But regarding team spirit, the will to win and the ability to keep a calm head amidst enormous pressure in unique circumstances, Romero takes the prize as the best United player over the international break.