The way this international break is going, we should just be very glad to get all of our players back in one piece. In the last few days, the world of club football has already lost Sergio Aguero, Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba, David Luiz, Philippe Coutinho, and Mario Gotze to injuries, not to mention everyone's favorite Chelsea duo of Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matic (probably). David Silva, Alvaro Morata, and Mario Mandzukic were added to that casualty list on Friday. And there's still another round of matches to come before proper football gets to resume next weekend!
Other than the injuries to Silva and Morata, not much went wrong for Spain on Friday, though for the vast majority of the match, not much went right either. Even with no Diego Costa to cramp their style, Spain found it difficult to finish their chances against lowly Luxembourg and it took them almost the entire first half to find a breakthrough via Santi Cazorla. But, eventually, the superior quality and vast edge in possession was put to good use for another three goals before the final whistle. Cesc Fabregas and Pedro both started and played 90 and 77 minutes, respectively, but Cesar Azpilicueta was once against just a bystander on the bench. Neither Chelsea player was at his best, but Cesc did collect an assist with a lovely through ball (and was involved in Spain's first goal as well) in his 99th cap for his country.
ESPNFC | EURO Qualifier: Alcacer goal -- Spain (67') http://t.co/LO8eUhAwkU— Al's Football Blog (@AlsFootballBlog) October 9, 2015
Almost as inevitable as Spain's win was England's 2-0 triumph over Estonia. Gary Cahill now has a perfect record as England captain, while the win keeps the Three Lions a perfect 9-for-9 in qualifying. England were already in for next summer's tournament; Spain have now ensured their spot as well. Not that either was ever in doubt.
Elsewhere, in friendly action between African teams, Ivory Coast beat Morocco 1-0 (Victorien Angban did not get to make his debut for the winners) and Mali beat Burkina Faso 4-1. Bertrand Traore was involved in some capacity, but the star of the day was Mali's Bakary Sako, whom we might remember from Crystal Palace's 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge a few weeks ago.