So, what have our lovely internationals been up to over the past couple of days? Chelsea have sent much of their squad away to indulge in a
pointless orgy of nationalism represent their countries this week, and most of them have played their first round of games.
Four countries were captained by Blues to mixed success, with Frank Lampard getting the armband for England against San Marino, David Luiz leading Brazil in their 2-2 friendly draw against Italy, Petr Cech suffering a 3-0 home loss against Denmark* with the Czech Republic and Branislav Ivanovic leading Serbia to a loss against Croatia. Lampard also netted England's fifth goal in the rout before being removed for Scott Parker in what might be the most patronising substitution ever.
*None of the goals were remotely stoppable, and Cech actually had a fairly good game.
Plenty of other Chelsea men found the goal this week. Oscar scored Brazil's second with a fine finish past Gianluigi Buffon, who assumedly doesn't like playing against him very much. Nathan Ake scored with the Holland under-19s in their 6-0 win against the Czechs, and Alex Davey scored for Sweden despite playing for the Scotland under-19s (don't worry, he helped them come from behind to win 3-2 anyway).
The Belgian contingent stole the spotlight, however. Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard got the goals as Belgium beat Macedonia 2-0 away from home, with the former netting from a tight angle after an excellent run and the latter winning -- and converting -- a penalty as he proved too much for the poor Macedonian defenders. Thibaut Courtois, as ever, was faultless in goal.
The big story, of course, was Spain's 1-1 home draw against Finland, which is what you get when you don't start Juan Mata. The playmaker did come in as a substitute late in the second half, but it wasn't enough to allow the defending champions to claim all three points, meaning that they're in second place in Group I. Yikes.
Oh, and Yossi Benayoun played against Portugal but I don't think anyone actually cares about Yossi Benayoun these days.