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Chelsea internationals: Batshuayi brace; Mendy clean sheet; Kovačić COVID concern?

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Wednesday action

Belgium v Switzerland - International Friendly Photo by John Berry/Getty Images

FIFA’s frivolous fun has begun for the last time this calendar year with a round of friendlies (because why not, apparently), which saw quite a bit of Chelsea involvement.

Of those who played, the spotlight should certainly shine brightest on Michy Batshuayi, who scored both goals in Belgium’s come from behind 2-1 victory over Switzerland. Both goals were well taken by our loanee striker, featuring some quality touches and footwork in the box, following by low, hard strikes past the goalkeeper.

Prior to the match, The Batsman had spoken of his frustration at being unable to open his scoring account for Crystal Palace this season yet, and how maybe a good international break would help him break his duck. Hopefully, last night’s brace will indeed do the trick for the 27-year-old.

One man who doesn’t need any national team help in finding his groove is Chelsea goalkeeper Édouard Mendy, who continued his good form with another clean sheet, this time for Senegal in their ACN qualifier against Guinea-Bissau. The 2-0 win featured at least one very nice save from Mendy late on.

On a less positive note — or, a potentially more positive one, as it were — Croatia’s Domagoj Vida learned of his positive COVID-19 test result halfway (HALFWAY!) through their friendly against Turkey last night.

As silly as that sounds, the reason he learned about it during a match rather than at any other time is because of the extra-congested schedule: he had tested negative on Monday for Wednesday’s match, but had undergone another test on Wednesday morning, for the upcoming match on Saturday!

All this now means that, as per UEFA protocol, he was eligible to play on Wednesday night even though a test on Wednesday morning (eventually) showed that he was positive. The testing itself doesn’t change the fact or the time of his positive diagnosis, but does make it extra ridiculous, and of course also increases the chances of transmission to teammates and opponents.

One of those teammates is of course Mateo Kovačić, who didn’t feature in the match (was on the bench), but certainly could’ve come into close contact with his team captain. Croatia are claiming otherwise, and are taking all the rest of the team to Sweden for Saturday’s match, as things stand...

In other actual footballing news, we had starts for Olivier Giroud, Kurt Zouma, Emerson, and Antonio Rüdiger, for their respective national teams. N’Golo Kanté also made a substitute appearance for France. Jorginho and Kepa Arrizabalaga were also named in matchday squads, but did not see any action.