The only blip for the ten Chelsea players involved for their respective national teams was Egypt's 2-0 defeat away to Senegal (for whom Demba Ba was an injury-forced absentee). Mohamed Salah started for the Pharaohs and as most reports will attest, missed at least two easy chances. Without actually watching, I can only assume that Mo Salah had basically continued his preseason form of decent play but a distinct lack of consistent end product.
Onto happier news, though still of the didn't-watch variety, as five Chelsea youngsters were involved at three different age levels for England, all emerging as winners. A sixth, Isaiah Brown had to withdraw from the U19s due to an unspecified injury.
Nathaniel Chalobah completed the full 90 for the U21s, starting in midfield before dropping back to play in the center of the defense. Fellow defender Jake Clarke-Salter played his first ever international game, getting 60 minutes in the England U18s 3-1 friendly win over the Netherlands. Dom Solanke, prolific as ever, chipped in with the second goal.
And then there was the (young) man of the hour, Lewis Baker. In his first game as captain of England U20, he led his team to a 6-0 thrashing of Romania, contributing a goal from the penalty spot. John Swift, out on loan with Rotherham played the first hour and collected the assist on the first goal.
Great start to the campaign beating Romania. Pleased to get on the scoresheet for my country! #EnglandU20s ⚽️— Lewis Baker (@lew_baker) September 5, 2014
The night's main event was across the Atlantic however, a rematch of the World Cup quarterfinal between Brazil and Colombia. While the match began with a hug between Neymar and Juan Zuñiga (who last hugged the Brazilian with a knee into the back instead), it's safe to say that there's no love lost between the two sides. Add in a rather weak-willed referee, and you get countless dives, relentless playacting, six first-half yellow cards, a hilariously harsh red on a second yellow to Juan Cuadrado, and yet just one lonely goal: a free kick at that, from Neymar. But of course it was Neymar.
The Chelsea highlight of the match was probably the backheel-nutmeg from Oscar, though the first half goal that was (incorrectly?) chalked off for offside was stellar as well - Oscar providing the through ball for Filipe Luis, whose blocked shot fell to the "better-than-Fred" feet of Diego Tardelli. Alas, the flag... Chelsea's number
eleven eight played just over 70 minutes.
Willian put in a shift of expectedly Willian-esque quality -- one would think both he and Oscar will find a regular place in Dunga's lineups -- while Ramires, for better or worse (hint: worse) pulled off a similar feat with an expectedly Ramires-esque performance. He collected a yellow card and narrowly escaped hurting Cuadrado with a reckless lunge before being replaced at half time. Filipe Luis played the whole game and did not look out of place next to David Luiz (who was quite good before hurting his knee ten minutes from time) and Joao Miranda. In a parallel universe, that's probably 3/4th of a Chelsea back four.
I've ended these reports both Wednesday and Thursday on the note that at least nobody picked up an injury, only to be proven wrong within 24 hours with Gary Cahill and Diego Costa. Hopefully that won't be the case again today.