As Christian Eriksen took Denmark on his back in Dublin on Tuesday and made them the final qualifiers from UEFA with a superb hat-trick, there was young Andreas Christensen holding it down at the other end, playing as the nominal right back in the Danes’ 4-2-3-1 setup. Eriksen’s hat-trick will take all the richly deserved headlines in the Danes’ 5-1 win, but it was nice to see the team’s coach managing to find a spot for the Chelsea youngster despite switching away from a three-man defensive scheme.
The rest of Tuesday had plenty of friendly minutes on tap for several Chelsea players, but one welcome absence was Eden Hazard, who was rested by Belgium in their 1-0 win over Japan. Thibaut Courtois also sat this one out, as did Alvaro Morata Spain’s 3-3 draw against Russia in St Petersburg.
There were a few Chelsea players (and even more ex-Chelsea players) involved for England however, as the Three Lions held on for a scoreless draw against Brazil, for whom a lively Willian played 25 minutes. Loftus-Cheek started again after Friday’s impressive showing against Germany, but had to leave due to injury in the 35th minute. Later, Tammy Abraham and Dom Solanke came on as part of double-change, the latter making his senior international debut, in a strike-partnership made in Chelsea but now working across a great Blues-Reds divide.
Elsewhere, Chelsea loanee Ola Aina played the first-half as a left wing-back in what was ultimately an exhilarating 4-2 win for Nigeria over Argentina, with the Super Eagles coming back from two goals down with four goals in 30 minutes thanks largely to the combination Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho. Chelsea legend Mikel John Obi played the full game while Loan Army forgotten man Kenneth Omeruo played the final 30 as a substitute.
Marco van Ginkel and even Matt Miazga were in action, for the Netherlands (3-0 over Romania) and the USA (1-1 with Portugal at the time of this writing), respectively. Meanwhile, Antonio Rudiger played the second half of Germany’s 2-2 draw against France.
And last but certainly not least, 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu became the second youngest player ever (after Gareth Bale) to start a game for Wales, as they drew 1-1 against Panama. Ampadu, who was tipped to start after the weekend’s substitute appearance, played the first 67 minutes.
And now, it’s back to proper football until next March.