Club football has taken a back seat over the last ten days or so with the international game front and centre, but there’s still been plenty of action involving Chelsea players of all ages and at all levels.
Therefore, without further ado, here’s a rundown of who’s done what, where, and how, beginning with the senior pros:
Petr Cech kept a clean sheet for the Czech Republic away to Denmark in their opening World Cup Qualifier. It was also revealed that the stopper has a mild elbow problem which will require surgery next summer, and he was rested for their friendly against Finland on Tuesday night as a result.
Frank Lampard scored a brace for England away to Moldova, taking him to a landmark total of 25 goals for the Three Lions. His early penalty in Chisinau also made him the most prolific penalty taker in the country’s history, and he added another to the tally in the closing moments of Tuesday’s home tie against Ukraine to earn Roy Hodgson’s boys a point with a 1-1 draw.
John Terry also featured in the Moldova match but suffered an ankle injury which curtailed his second-half involvement, leaving the match minutes before the end. He then withdrew from the squad to play Ukraine, joining Ashley Cole, who missed both matches with a niggle picked up against Atlético Madrid. Daniel Sturridge was sidelined with a stomach bug in Moldova but played 20 odd minutes at Wembley, as did Ryan Bertrand, whilst Gary Cahill saw no playing time whatsoever.
David Luiz captained a Brazil team which also featured Oscar and Ramires from the start but the Selecao were once again unconvincing in a 1-0 win over a South African team which included former academy youngster Dean Furman, making his debut for Bafana Bafana. However, they were much improved against China in an 8-0 win which featured goals for both of Chelsea’s attacking players, with Oscar weighing with an additional three assists to boot.
Fernando Torres was named as captain by Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque as he reached 100 caps in the 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia, but he wasn’t able to cap the occasion with a goal and was then left unused in the away win in Georgia. Juan Mata was afforded a rest after summer of internationals and was not selected in Vicente Del Bosque’s squad.
Branislav Ivanovic has been confirmed as the new Serbian captain following the retirement of Nemanja Vidic and he began his reign in decent fashion with a clean sheet in a goalless draw away to Scotland before demolishing Wales in Belgrade on Tuesday. He continued his fine early season goalscoring form with the fifth goal in a 6-1 win.
John Obi Mikel was not included in Nigeria’s party for their African Cup of Nations qualifier against Liberia but new signing Victor Moses was, and he proved an integral figure after being involved in both goals. The Super Eagles picked up a 2-2 draw in the first leg, a result which aids their chances of securing a berth in January’s finals in South Africa.
Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois played the full 90 minutes whilst Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne were second-half substitutes for Belgium as they got their qualification campaign off to a strong start with a 2-0 win away to Wales. They kept their roles for their second outing of the break at home to Croatia, although Lukaku didn’t feature in the eventual 1-1 draw.
At Under-21 level, Jeffrey Bruma returned to the Jong Oranje selection for the first time in well over a year and helped his team secure a playoff spot with a 4-1 win over Austria. Patrick van Aanholt, a regular member of Cor Pot’s squad, was excused duty from this particular match, which saw a host of more experienced faces drop down to get the required result.
Qualification for next summer’s finals in Israel sees fourteen teams progress from the group round into a seeded playoff system, with the winner of each of the seven ties advancing to join the hosts in the finals tournament.
Chelsea will be well represented in Friday’s draw with Milan Lalkovic’s Slovakia there for the first time too. The winger, currently on loan at Vitória Guimaraes in Portugal, came off the bench to score his first Under-21 goal in a 6-0 win over Kazakhstan, having sat out Friday’s huge win over France (for whom Gael Kakuta was not involved).
Josh McEachran and England are also in the hat, but the playmaker returned back to Middlesbrough over the weekend with a slight injury and wasn’t risked by Stuart Pearce in their double-header of fixtures against Azerbaijan and Norway.
Tomas Kalas can also be added to the list as part of a Czech Republic team which has been very impressive throughout their campaign. He helped secure the clean sheet and point needed to guarantee their place in a 0-0 draw away to Montenegro before being rested for the comfortable home win against Wales.
Oriol Romeu and Spain strolled their way to the top of Group 5, dropping just two points in eight games, and will be favourites to retain the title they won in Denmark two years ago. Romeu played the full 90 minutes in a goalless draw in Switzerland on Friday, before also putting his feet up in a meaningless final group match against Croatia. It goes without saying that Matej Delac was not part of the Croatian squad, having lost his place a long time ago due to a lack of first team football.
Belgium didn’t qualify, finishing third in England’s group, but Thorgan Hazard played 72 minutes against Iceland in their final fixture, having been added to the squad over the weekend. Lamisha Musonda was also called up, but played no part against Iceland nor against Norway.
The Under-19 qualification tournament for next summer’s finals in Lithuania is yet to begin but teams have been using this break to prepare, and Chelsea’s headlines were made by Alex Davey, who continued his stellar progress with Scotland by scoring his first international goal.
It was a late consolation effort at home to a Netherlands team captained by Nathan Aké, who debuted as a substitute a few days earlier before starting his first match since graduating Under-17 level, where he was twice a European Champion. Having previously captained every age group he’s played at, he is a natural choice for the role, but to do it on debut is an impressive feat.
Islam Feruz celebrated his 17th birthday by starting for Scotland and going up against Aké, but he wasn’t able to find the back of the net.
Nathaniel Chalobah captained England’s Under-19s in Germany, but Noel Blake’s team came home on the wrong side of a 3-1 defeat.
At the rarely-seen Under-18 level, Amin Affane played an hour against Denmark and the same against Norway in the Halland Three Nations Tournament. After an impressive debut for Roda JC in the Eredivisie, he’s in form and confident, and will return to his loan club looking to continue making an impact.
The lower leagues don’t stop for internationals, so on top of all of the above, there was a smattering of loan action to recap as well.
Rohan Ince and Archange Nkumu are still waiting for their first starts in Yeovil Town green, and indeed, Nkumu is waiting for his first action whatsoever. Ince though came off the bench in the midweek Johnstone’s Paint Trophy match against Sam Walker’s Bristol Rovers, before coming on before half time in the weekend defeat to Bournemouth.
Walker played twice himself but was unable to end up on the winning side on either occasion. Yeovil ran out 3-0 winners in the cup fixture before Rovers drew 2-2 against Aldershot in League Two action. He was beaten by two fine strikes but can take solace from the fact his defence were nowhere near as bad as they had been in previous fixtures.
Conor Clifford withdrew from Ireland Under-21 duty with the team already out of contention for qualification and remained with Portsmouth’s thin squad but he is still struggling to make an impact or earn a start at Fratton Park. He was unused in the weekend victory at Crawley Town, but he did feature in the JPT win over Bournemouth, coming off the bench fifteen minutes from time only to be handed a boon in the form of an additional 30 minutes as the match went to extra time.
In Spain, Ulises Dávila was rested on the bench by Sabadell as they beat Almeria 3-0, whilst Jhon Pírez was unable to debut for Leganés as they beat Atlético Madrid B 3-1. Dávila was restored to the starting lineup on Tuesday for the club’s Copa Del Rey tie against Herculés and grabbed his first goal for the Harlequinistas in a 2-0 win.
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