Dani Osvaldo has even more reason to star for Saints this season after helping Italy to qualify for the World Cup.

The Saints striker was controversially left on the bench in Turin as Italy took on the Czech Republic but was brought on at half time with his team a goal down through Libor Kozak.

Osvaldo’s introduction made an immediate impact as two goals in the space of three minutes at the start of the half from Giorgio Chiellini and a Mario Balotelli penalty secured the win.

With the victory came the guarantee of a place in the finals in Brazil where Osvaldo will be hoping to star.

As well as Rickie Lambert playing for England there was another Saints star in Group H World Cup qualifying action.

Artur Boruc will have been disappointed to concede to San Marino, the first goal the minnows have scored in their qualifying campaign.

That was an equaliser through Alessandro Della Valle after Piotr Zielinski had sent Poland on their way after only ten minutes.

However, the game did turn out to be the expected romp as strikes from Jakub Błaszczykowski, Waldemar Sobota, another from Zielinski and one from Adrian Mierzejewski sealed a 5-1 win.

There was an upset for Steven Davis who captained Northern Ireland as they suffered a shock 3-2 defeat in Luxembourg.

Northern Ireland looked on their way to victory as a Davis assist allowed Martin Paterson to bag an early goal but Aurelien Joachim, Stefan Bensi and Mathias Janisch struck to cancel out another effort from Gareth McAuley to record a 3-2 win, their first of the qualifying campaign.

Maya Yoshida, who has found himself down the pecking order so far this season, got a full 90 minutes as Japan defeated Ghana 3-1 in a friendly in Saitama. Shinji Kagawa, Yashuhito Endo and Keisuke Honda got the goals for Japan in the second half after Frank Acheampong had given Ghana a 24th minute lead.

The man who took Yoshida’s place in the Saints team, £8.5m centre half Dejan Lovren, was also playing in Asia as Croatia took on South Korea.

Lovren played the whole game as Croatia won 2-1 with goals from Domagoj Vida and Nikola Kalinic doing the damage.

Youngster Lloyd Isgrove played 90 minutes for Wales under-21s as they fought out a goalless draw in Moldova as part of their 2015 European under-21 Championship Qualifying Group 1 campaign.