It's been a good couple of days to be a Chelsea player on international duty. With many first teamers and loanees on duty, one might have expected a draw here and there; perhaps a defeat as well. But instead, the Blues made a clean sweep of things, winning every match they played, with England, Belgium and Germany picking up especially important results. Let's dig in.
World Cup qualification
Belgium vs. Croatia
Result: 2-1 Belgium
Belgium ensured a place at next summer's World Cup in style, dispatching Croatia in Zagreb to win Group A with a game to spare. Knowing a draw would be enough to secure their place, Marc Wilmots might have been forgiven for playing defensively, but his side exploded out of the gates and the final score didn't reflect the magnitude by which Croatia were outclassed on their home soil. Every Chelsea-affiliated player had a good game, but the standout was on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku, who scored a brace, showing off his tremendous speed and power in the process.
Malta vs. Czech Republic
Who: Petr Cech
Result: 1-4 Czech Republic
The Czech Republic needed Armenia to do them a favour against Bulgaria and then to beat Malta away to go into their final Group B match with any hope of taking second place. Armenia did their part, and the Petr-Cech-captained Czechs made the most of it, crushing the group minnows 4-1. Cech couldn't do much about the Malta goal, put away coolly by Michael Mifsud, and one would expect him to face a more significant test when his side take on Bulgaria on Tuesday. Even if they win that match, their destiny isn't really in their hands: They'll need Denmark to drop points (against Malta, no less) to see them through.
Ed. note: In fact, the Czechs are done. See comment below by Monochromatic Spider.
Germany vs. Republic of Ireland
Who: Andre Schurrle
Result: 3-0 Germany
It's nice to have a representative on the German national side again, isn't it? Andre Schurrle and company secured a World Cup berth (not that there was ever much doubt whether they'd be in or not) with an emphatic win against the Republic of Ireland, with Schurrle netting the second goal:
That's a beauty, isn't it? Although he's yet to find the net for Chelsea, with touches like that it's surely only a matter of time...
England vs. Montenegro
Result: 4-1 England
England needed six points from six to secure automatic qualification for Brazil 2014, and after a big win against Montenegro at Wembley, they're halfway there. Ashley Cole is injured and couldn't play, but Chelsea still had two representatives take the field, with both Frank Lampard and Gary Cahill starting. Neither had much to do with the goals, and Lampard was taken off just after the hour mark, but that's hardly a blemish on a very good day for the Three Lions.
Spain vs. Belarus
Who: Juan Mata
Result: 2-1 Spain
Juan Mata was left on the bench as the world champions flattered to deceive against an energetic Belarus. Maybe he's not Vicente del Bosque's kind of player?
Serbia vs. Japan
Who: Branislav Ivanovic
Result: 2-0 Serbia
Serbia might be out of the picture as well as the World Cup is concerned, but they still came up with an impressive win against Japan, who will be at the tournament. Branislav Ivanovic captained the team, who outplayed their guests, grabbed a goal in the second half and then killed off the match in injury time through Milos Jojic.
South Korea vs. Brazil
Who: David Luiz, Oscar, Ramires
Result: 0-2 Brazil
David Luiz captained Brazil for a friendly in South Korea, and the Selecao put in a strong effort to see off their intermittently-dangerous hosts. The centre back was called into action more than a few times, and Ramires got himself a full half of action, but the real star so far as Chelsea are concerned was Oscar, who scored Brazil's second after being fed by Paulinho. A nice result against good competition.