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Thursday highlights: Loic Remy scores, Mario Pasalic makes Croatia debut, Courtois keeps a clean sheet

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Six Chelsea players got to play on Thursday, but Thorgan Hazard remained on the Belgium bench.

Giuseppe Bellini

A slightly better Thursday then for Chelsea players involved in international friendlies, though I claim that mostly based on the entertainment value served up by France vs. Spain (compare and contrast with England's win over Norway by the same 1-0 scoreline).  I did not get to see Thibaut Courtois keep a clean sheet against Australia, nor did I get to witness young Mario Pašalić make his Croatia debut as a second half substitute against Cyprus.  Congrats to both.

Back to the main event, wherein all four Chelsea players that could have played, did.  The Spain trio of César Azpilicueta, Diego Costa, Cesc Fàbregas all started, while Loïc Rémy came on as a substitute for France.  It was Chelsea's newest player who made all the difference with a well-taken goal.

Astute observers may have notice similarities between this goal and the one he scored against Chelsea last season at St. James' Park, a clinical left-footed finish just inside the near post after some excellent in-the-box movement to escape the attentions of the defense.

For his goal yesterday, Rémy evaded none other than his club teammate Cesar Azpilicueta.  Sure to be a source of some training ground banter, Azpilicueta and the rest of the Spain defensive line was all over the shop, much like the Chelsea defense in the other clip.  Well done, Rémy, to take advantage.

At the other end, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa continued to develop their understanding of each other, albeit without a goal this time.  The lack of an 'off' position for Costa's competitiveness switch provided a bit of levity as well, though I suppose the mood was a bit sourer among the Spanish fans who are still waiting for Costa to score after five games for the national team.

Most importantly, as always, nobody got hurt and we're one more day closer to the return of proper football.