With yet another international break finishing, the final one before March, it’s time to see how the Chelsea players got on for their countries.
England – Reece James continues to shine
The Three Lions headed into this international break knowing four points would be enough to secure qualification to next year’s World Cup in Qatar and they duly did so dispatching Albania 5-0 and then San Marino 10-0. They were without regular Mason Mount due to his dental surgery, but Reece James continued his fantastic start to the season with a wicked delivery for England’s opener on Friday night.
Ben Chilwell also featured in both games but didn’t have the same impact as his counterpart on the other flank. There was also another England goal for ex-Chelsea player Tammy Abraham in the San Marino international thrashing.
Germany – Kai Havertz continues his goalscoring form
Just like England did, Germany also handed out a big defeat to a smaller nation. This time it was 9-0 against Liechtenstein, a game in which the charismatic centre back Antonio Rüdiger played all 90 minutes in. Then a few days later against Armenia, Kai Havertz found the back of the net for the fourth time in seven games for club and country to set Germany on their way to seven consecutive wins.
Italy – A pair of draws cost the Azzurri
Italy’s destiny was in their own hands heading into this international break but poor performances from themselves and other sides capitalising on them consigned them to the play offs.
First up was a 1-1 draw against Switzerland, the side who topped the group, which saw a rare occurrence of Jorginho missing a late penalty for all three points. Then a few days later they drew 0-0 away to Northern Ireland as Jorginho and co couldn’t break the resilient defence down. Chelsea loanee Emerson also featured in both games.
France – Kante’s return continues
The Frenchman has struggled considerably with injuries this season and made a return in Chelsea blue just before the international break and his quest back to full fitness continued with his national side under Didier Deschamps.
He got 72 minutes under his belt in the 8-0 win against Kazakhstan in which Kylian Mbappe scored four goals and then didn’t feature in the following game against Finland.
USA – Captain America rediscovers his touch
If Kante has been riddled with injuries, then Christian Pulisic has had injury problems on a whole new level. He hasn’t started in the Premier League since the opening day against Crystal Palace but that all looks set to change now after a cameo appearances against Malmö and Burnley and 60 or so minutes over the international break for his country.
It was in the first of the two games where he played a pivotal role. His goal five minutes after coming on against Mexico opened the scoring and set USA on their way to a 2-0 win.
Best of the Rest
Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta was a part of the Spain defence that kept a clean sheet on their way to defeating Sweden 1-0 to ensure they qualified for the World Cup.
Also, Thiago Silva kept a clean sheet against Colombia as Brazil maintained their lead at the top in the South American qualifying. Meanwhile their club teammate Andreas Christensen didn’t enjoy the same joy as his Danish side conceded their first goals of the qualifying campaign and also fell to their first loss after six consecutive wins against Scotland.
Finally, star goalkeeper Edouard Mendy played in one of Senegal’s games and uncharacteristically failed to keep a clean sheet in a 1-1 draw with Togo.
On Loan Stars
Chelsea’s use of the loan system and the number of players they have out on loan is always being talked about, but the talent of those players can never be questioned, and it leads to them performing well for their new club and country if selected.
Billy Gilmour was a key part of another couple of Scotland wins, which led to him winning many plaudits yet again, as they are now seeded for the playoffs. Fellow midfielder Conor Gallagher continued his rise by making his England first team debut against San Marino, something that would’ve been unimaginable back in August.
His compatriot Levi Colwill continued his impressive season with a goal for England U19s. Whilst Colwill’s fellow Championship player Ian Maatsen got a goal and assist for Netherlands U21s.
Written by Harrison Burridge (@indepthFandC)
Edited by Tom Coley (@tomcoley49)
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