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Notes from Wednesday's Internationals

Argentina 1-0 Brazil

I was mainly watching this one to keep an eye on Ramires and supposed Chelsea targets Neymar dos Santos and David Luiz, all on the Brazilian squad. The game itself was interesting enough - Leo Messi won it in injury time with a deft finishing after wandering through four rather statuesque Brazilian defenders - but there were few clear-cut chances for either side and it rather petered out in the middle of the second half.


Pretty good game from the midfielder, who was deployed alongside Liverpool's Lucas in the second band of a 4-2-3-1. He did a good job defensively, shutting up shop in the middle of the pitch, and was involved in most of Brazil's good counterattacking moves. The heat in Qatar was preventing anyone from pressing very hard, so he had a lot more time on the ball than he's used to in the Premier League and looked far less nervous as a result. Touch and passing were both much improved from his play with Chelsea, although fairly unadventurous.

My impression is he has the tools to succeed with Chelsea and simply has not made the adjustment to the faster-paced English game, which comes as little surprise considering the transition period some current Chelsea stars went through when they were imported.


Very quick, very skilled, very intelligent. Neymar was a bundle of energy all game, tormenting the Argentine defence with twists and turns in much the same way that Messi was doing on the other end. He wasn't supported especially well, however, and his touch tended to let him down once he got into the box. The 18 year old would have done much better as a wide forward than the lone man up front - neither Ronaldinho nor captain Robinho did much to help him, which meant that Neymar's interesting runs through the defence resulted in cut-backs to nobody rather than to real chances.

Impressive from the youngster, but not world-beating. That's an excellent showing for an 18 year old player against one of the best sides in international football. I'd still be very interested in Chelsea signing him.

David Luiz

I thought Luiz was excellent here. He shackled Messi for most of the game, but tired towards the end of the match, and was one of the players at fault for the goal (although he was blocked off from making a challenge by another defender and more or less gave up on the play). He frustrated Messi all day, resulting in the best player in the world losing his cool on more than one occasion, and also joined in on the attack. It was his clever pass to Dani Alves from the top of the box that resulted in the right back clattering a shot against the bar, which ended up being Brazil's best chance of the game.

Luiz was really enjoyable to watch, and I think he'd be a great fit with Chelsea should the Blues decide to pry him out of Benfica's hands. He also has amazing hair.

France 2-1 England

England were, in layman's terms, a complete bloody embarrassment. John Terry's lack of pace was once againbrutally exposed as the French ran riot through England's defence, and Frank Lampard, as usual, totally ignored his defensive responsibilities, failing to track back as the midfield was overrun. Truly, England's poor play can be laid squarely on their shoulders and we should be booing them at every opportunity.

Florent Malouda

Malouda terrorised makeshift right back Phil Jagielka in the first half, and was one of the two best players on the pitch. The fact that the other, Samir Nasri, was playing directly behind him didn't make life any easier for the Everton man who was ostensibly defending against them. Malouda was excellent, displaying a movement and willingness to challenge players that had been absent in his recent performances for Chelsea, which is a pretty good indicator that he's finally shaking off that ankle problem incurred against Blackburn. He helped to create Karim Benzema's opening goal with a clever one-two, and was a major part in France's repeated bludgeoning of the English lines. When Malouda was substituted late on, it was all smiles from him. Hopefully we can bring him back to Wembley this season.

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