The last day of internationals passed almost exactly the same way as all the other days had, filled with excellent performances, including lots of goals or assists, from the various Chelsea representatives around the world.
The likes of Hazard (3 goals; 100th cap), Hudson-Odoi (at least 1 assist, first ever start), Batshuayi (1g, 1a), Barkley (2g, 2a), and Giroud (2g; rising to third on the all-time France scoring charts) have excelled during the break, while Kanté and Rüdiger prompted plenty of rave reviews for their individual performances. There were confidence-boosting victories and minutes for Jorginho and Andreas Christensen, too.
On Tuesday, Alvaro Morata and Christian Pulisic joined the party as well, putting behind them disappointing performances in last week’s games when Spain barely squeaked by Norway and Pulisic was rendered ineffective by Ecuador’s parked bus.
Morata grabbed all the goals of Spain’s 2-0 win over Malta — another narrower than expected scoreline from La Furia Roja, though they went into the game under non-ideal circumstances with head coach Luis Enrique getting called away on a family emergency at the last second. Morata did get a bit of help from the goalkeeper on the first goal, but his second was a great headed finish. Kepa Arrizabalaga, continuing to alternate with David De Gea in the Spanish goal, got an easy clean sheet for just the one save he had to make.
Over on the other side of the Atlantic, the USA hosted Chile in a friendly in Houston, in what was expected to be a more interesting game than the dour 1-0 win over Ecuador. And sure enough, each side found the back of the net inside the first ten minutes, though ended up settling for the 1-1 draw in the end.
Christian Pulisic struck first, collecting a through ball from Gyasi Zardes and slotting past the goalkeeper with ultimate ease for his 10th international goal.
Unfortunately, the 20-year-old’s day came to a premature just past the half-hour mark as he limped off with an apparent thigh injury, the extent of which won’t be known until the MRI results are revealed. Hopefully that’s nothing serious; Pulisic had just finally gotten back to full fitness after dealing with various injuries in the first half of the season and had collected 3 goals and 1 assist in his last 7 appearances (5 starts) for club and country combined.
Gregg Berhalter says that Christian Pulisic will get an MRI “right now” for his injured right quad. #usmnt— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) March 27, 2019
Matt Miazga also started for the US and was decent enough against a much more physical and dominant Chile side. Miazga, alongside John Brooks, appears to be the preferred center back pairing going forward for new head coach Gregg Berhalter, though without Pulisic in the side, the team seems rather bereft of attacking ideas and belief.
Elsewhere, Andreas Christensen and Kenneth Omeruo went as unused substitutes for Denmark and Nigeria, respectively, while Tomas Kalas was on the losing end again with the Czech Republic, 3-1 to Brazil this time, but at least avoided scoring an own goal.
Now, it’s back to proper football.