The Chelsea trio of Mateo Kovacic, Andreas Christensen and Billy Gilmour were the three Blues players on international duty today for Croatia, Denmark and Scotland, respectively. All three of them contributed to simple but highly valuable 1-0 wins for their respective national teams in the European World Cup qualifiers.
Kovacic was the starting midfielder right to the left of Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic, playing in a deeper role than his Chelsea custom and not marauding too far forward. While he did help keep Marek Hamsic’s Slovakia goalless, he was no longer on the pitch on minute 86 of the match when his fellow midfielder Brozovic scored the winning goal with a great strike from the edge of the box following a free kick by his substitute, Lovro Majer.
The win ties Croatia with Russia in group H in terms of points (10), with the Russians having the edge and holding the top of the table thanks to scoring more goals (8) than the Croatians (5).
After winning the bout against Scotland and keeping their unbeaten record in group F of the European World Cup qualifiers, Denmark extended their winning streak to five out of five today by beating the Faroe Islands. Although the Danes dominated the match, Christensen was a great presence in defence with timely interventions to allow his teammates do their things upfront. It eventually paid off as the goal came at the 85th minute via Jonas Wind header, nine minutes after Christensen was subbed off for Yussuf Poulsen.
On the losing side of Wednesday’s match, Scotland had a good outing versus last-place Moldova, beating them 1-0 thanks to a first half goal by Lyndon Dykes. It should not be much of a surprise to us that Billy Gilmour was the highlight for the Scottish national team, with a great display from midfield by setting up several shooting chances and almost getting a goal of his own in the second half.