Chris Wood returns with a hat-trick to his name as Burnley stars continue global exploits

New signing Wood grabbed three for New Zealand whilst Steven Defour celebrated Belgium securing a place at the World Cup.

Chris Wood returns with a hat-trick to his name as Burnley stars continue global exploits
Chris Wood is hunting down the New Zealand goalscoring record (photo: Getty Images/Anthony Au-Yeung)

Burnley players continued to announce themselves on the global stage as several players continued to their quests to reach next year's World Cup in Russia.

Wood earns an early departure

Record signing Chris Wood stole the headlines after an emphatic display for New Zealand against Solomon Islands. The £15 million striker netted a hat-trick in a 6-1 win before being granted an early return to Burnley with national team boss Anthony Hudson opting to rest the All Whites' third leading scorer. New Zealand went on to win the tie 8-3 on aggregate and now face an Inter-Continental playoff with Japan in October.

Steven Defour will have the perfect reason to hit the ground running again this season. The Belgian was part of Roberto Martinez' squad that recorded victories over Gibraltar and Greece to become the first European country to qualify for the World Cup. However, Defour failed to get onto the pitch and will hope his performances for Burnley can help secure a place on the plane next summer.

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Progression for Wales or Ireland is uncertain

There were mixed emotions for Clarets from the Home Nations. Tom Heaton was part of an England squad who are now just two points away from qualification after continuing their unbeaten run in the group stage.

However, Sam Vokes' Wales face a critical showdown next month with several of his teammates as Wales leapfrogged Republic of Ireland in Group D. Vokes played a part in the defeat of Moldova on Tuesday night whilst Ireland slipped up against group leaders Serbia who should qualify top. It means the winner of Wales vs Ireland next month is likely to reach the playoffs at the expense of the losing side.

Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, Jon Walters, Stephen Ward and Kevin Long are all part of the Ireland squad looking to progress, whilst Johann Berg Gudmundsson's Iceland also have it all to do after defeat to Finland left them second in Group I.