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International wrap: Chelsea's Nigerian and Brazilian contingents in easy wins

Six Chelsea players suited up for their countries today; all but one emerged as winners

Buda Mendes
NIGERIA vs. Malawi (CAF World Cup qualifying)

The Super Eagles made easy work of Malawi, dominating the proceedings on their way to a simple 2-0 victory.  John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses both started, the former - operating in his usual further-forward midfield role - getting named the man of the match, the latter - bringing his best form just like in the Africa Cup of Nations - scoring from the penalty spot to set the final scoreline.  With the three points, Nigeria have sealed top spot in their qualifying group.  They will now enter a playoff versus one of the other seven group winners for a spot at Brazil 2014.

BURKINA FASO vs. Gabon (CAF World Cup qualifying)

One of those seven other group winners are the Stallions of Burkina Faso, surprisingly.  Heading into this match in second place, they needed Congo to drop points away to Niger to have any hope.  And somehow, Congo managed to do just that, settling for a draw against the worst team in the group.  Meanwhile Burkina Faso got their win, the only goal of the match getting scored by Préjuce Nakoulma who plies his trade in the Polish top division.  Bertrand Traoré sat on the bench for the full 90.  Surely, he could've signed his Chelsea contract in that time, no?  No, I guess not...


Judging by the attendance, not many actually cared about this friendly played on Brazil's Independence Day.  While most of the country was out celebrating (or protesting), the half-full (third-full?) stadium witnessed a rather one-sided affair as most of the match ended up being played in awe-struck, hapless Australia's half of the pitch.  It's not often that a 6-0 scoreline flatters the losing side, but this was a shockingly bad effort from the Socceroos.  David Luiz played an hour and had absolutely nothing to do.  Ramires played the full 90 in the middle of a sort of 4-3-3/4-2-2-2/4-FRAAB-Jo hybrid, getting a goal and an assist (a second chalked off by an erroneous offside flag) and even managing several good-looking crosses on his belated return to the national team.

On the losing end, Mark Schwarzer, hoping to stay first choice as we head towards the World Cup, got his 109th cap for Australia.  He probably won't want to remember this one for too long, although none of the goals were really his fault and he even came up with a couple decent saves on the effervescent Neymar.

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