It’s not truly an international break until someone gets injured, especially someone important, and that highly dubious and exceedingly annoying honor this time around goes to Ben Chilwell. The Chelsea and England left back made it just past the half-hour mark Sunday against Belgium before being forced off with an apparent back injury.
There isn’t much information available as yet about the 23-year-old’s status, but Chelsea begin a 4-month-long run of practically uninterrupted fixtures next weekend, and it’s imperative that we have him back as soon as possible. The drop-offs defensively to Emerson or Marcos Alonso, and offensively to César Azpilicueta, are far too great at the moment.
Southgate confirmed Chilwell came off for England due to a problem with his back but couldn't offer further detail.— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) November 15, 2020
To add insult to the injury, England would go on to lose 2-0 to an Eden Hazard-less Belgium. Mason Mount played 70 minutes; Tammy Abraham did not feature.
Hazard was out for the hosts due to COVID-19, and the virus took center stage over in Italy as well, where twenty (20!) ... that’s two-zero ... players pulled out of the squad named for the international break due to positive (or inconclusive) tests and/or because they were self-isolating due to contact tracing. And while that sort of sounds worse than it was purely in sporting terms — they named 41 players in anticipation of this situation — the fact that they had to do that underlines once again the absolute madness of holding these international games at this time.
Anyway, both Jorginho and Emerson have remained free and clear as far as the testing’s concerned, so far anyway, and the former even scored one of his trademark penalties in the 2-0 win over Poland last night.
On a more positive note (an actual positive, not test-positive), Édouard Mendy is continuing to defy the odds and keep posting clean sheets as if they were growing on trees. His latest was to the tune of 1-0 against Guinea-Bissau, which featured another wonderful save as well.
Another game, another superb save from Edouard Mendy.— ExpectedChelsea (@ExpectedChelsea) November 15, 2020
Elsewhere, loanee Ethan Ampadu got another cap for Wales in a 1-0 win over Republic of Ireland, while forgotten man Andreas Christensen got to play for Denmark after all — guess those COVID concerns only applied for the first game of the break? — as they beat Iceland, 2-0.