We're now past the halfway point of the international break, so it should go pretty quickly from here on in, right? Not that it felt like that today; time dragging on like the flat circle that it isn't.
It's not helping the general boredom that even though the Euro 2016 qualification began on Sunday, only one Chelsea player was involved in a rather uninspiring set of fixtures. And, on a personal note, when Hungary starts their campaign with a 2-1 home loss to Northern Ireland, you know you'll get to forgo taking the next two years of internationals seriously from day one. So thanks for that, I guess.
Unlike the shambolic travesty that is the Hungarian team, World Champions Germany are flying high despite last week's friendly rematch against Argentina. Though perhaps that 4-2 Angel-Di-Maria-ing was more indicative of their current form than most believed, as the hosts struggled to put away a mostly dire Scotland who did capitalize on their one decent period of play in the second half to briefly level the score at 1-1. Thomas Müller's second goal of the night was enough to win it for the Germans. World Cup super-sub André Schürrle was rewarded with a start in this one -- his 40th international appearance already at just 23 -- but failed to get any of his four shots on target, let alone find the back of the net. At least he didn't break himself, unlike Marco Reus on the opposite wing.
From a purely Chelsea viewpoint, all the qualifiers were overshadowed by the Serbia vs. France friendly, which featured three Chelsea players and a fourth one for whom there's hardly an amount of moneys we wouldn't give. And it was that certain young man who opened the scoring, arriving with aplomb at the far post to slam home a 13th minute corner. It was Paul Pogba's second goal in his last four for France, a record which becomes even more impressive considering that France have only scored five goals total in those games. Sure enough, despite the lead, France were hardly impressive (Loïc Rémy included -- see his miss in the 55th minute in the video below) and an equalizer from Serbia was always on the cards. It arrived in the 80th minute. Unsurprisingly, given his early-season form, Branislav Ivanovic was involved.
Calling that an assist in an actual "assisting" sense is beyond generous, I suppose, but until we get more useful football statistics, we'll just call it an assist anyway. Good job, Bane, attacking juggernaut and master of the disguised free kick! (Though why anybody would believe Ivanovic would take a free kick before Kolarov is also up for debate.) Earlier in the match, the right back rattled the bar before almost winning it at the death with another set piece header. Nemanja Matic also played the full game and probably edged the highly anticipated matchup against Pogba.