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Giroud goal, Willian assist highlight final day of internationals for 2018

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Round-up of Tuesday’s international action from a Chelsea perspective.

Photo by Mehdi Taamallah/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The FIFA match calendar is at long last exhausted for 2018, which means we have a nice, long four-month stretch of just club football to look forward to from now until March. So it’s time to start making wishlists and checking them twice, as in the case of Chelsea and other Premier League teams, that means the busiest part of the season is about to start.

While for some Chelsea players this last international break of the season was a bit of a disappointment — Eden Hazard was none too pleased with Belgium’s collapse against Switzerland, for example, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek was probably disappointed to get just a short cameo in a friendly against a poor USA team — others are coming back on the wings of good vibes.

For example, Olivier Giroud and France got back on the winning track after a disappointing 2-0 loss to Netherlands last week, with a 1-0 win over Uruguay in a rematch of their 2018 World Cup quarterfinal. France’s win this time came courtesy of an Olivier Giroud penalty, which he converted with confidence after Antoine Griezmann’s shot was adjudged to have been stopped deliberately by a defender’s arm. Every goal counts, so hopefully Olivier can leverage this into some sort of goalscoring form for Chelsea as well. Kanté played the full match unfortunately, but at least avoided injury.

Meanwhile, Chelsea right winger Willian proved that he is indeed capable of taking an accurate set piece by collecting an assist on Richarlison’s winning goal against Cameroon in a friendly played in ... scenic ... Milton Keynes, of all places. Willian is usually the designated taker for Chelsea’s indirect set pieces, including most corners, but lately those have led to little else but frustration and wastefulness. Hopefully he can show similar accuracy for his club in the coming weeks and months — though it was also a really well-taken and powerful header from Richarlison, it should be noted.

And lastly, in yet another 1-0 win, we have backup left back Emerson playing he full 90 for Italy against the USA in a friendly. It was his second cap and first ever start for the Azzurri, proving that even as a Chelsea backup who only plays Europa League and League Cup matches, he can still get minutes at the international level as well (cc: Ruben Loftus-Cheek).

And now, back to proper football. It’s Spurs at Wembley this weekend, so it’s time to get hyped!