|Messi and Neymar in action for Argentina and Brazil|
The nightmare is now over, the final international break of 2016 as come to an end and players will be returning to their respective club sides and won’t take part on international duties until March 2017, except the African players.
A total of 14 Barcelona first team players left the team to join their various nations on international duty for the final international break of the year after Barcelona’s emphatic 2-1 win against Sevilla at the Sánchez Pizjuán. Here’s how all fourteen players fared with their countries.
ARGENTINA – LIONEL MESSI AND JAVIER MASCHERANO
Two Barça players in Javier Mascherano and Lionel Messi represented World Cup finalist Argentina in their two CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers games against Brazil and Colombia. Both players played the entire 180 minutes of both games as they’re both crucial to the team. Argentina lost 3-0 to Neymar’s Brazil in their first game of the break but bounced back in style against Colombia as Lionel Messi pulled off a masterclass, registering one goal and two assists to help Argentina beat Colombia 3-0, keeping their World Cup hopes alive.
BRAZIL – NEYMAR
Brazil’s talisman was ever present for his side in their two World Cup Qualifiers, he had a perfect performance to help Brazil beat Argentina 3-0, registering one goal and one assist. He was also present for the full 90 minutes in Brazil’s 2-0 win over Peru. Brazil are currently top of the CONMEBOL Qualifiers group and have a high chance of qualifying for the World Cup in Russia.
URUGUAY – LUIS SUÁREZ
El Pistolero played all 180 minutes for his side as they beat Ecuador 2-1 in the first game before losing 3-1 to Chile in the second. Suárez picked up an assist and a yellow card in the Chile game and also missed a penalty.
GERMANY – MARC ANDRÉ TER STEGEN
The goalkeeper was in goal for the World Champions in the entire game, keeping a clean sheet as they beat San Marino 8-0. He didn’t feature in the team’s second game against Italy which ended 0-0.
PORTUGAL – ANDRÉ GOMES
Was among the starters to help Portugal beat Latvia 4-1 in their Euro World Cup Qualifiers. He played 87 minutes in the game, helping Portugal in their bid to qualify for the World Cup as they lie in second place behind Switzerland.
SPAIN – SERGIO BUSQUETS AND SERGI ROBERTO
Sergio Busquets played the full 90 minutes in Spain’s 4-0 WCQ win over Macedonia and he was one of the standout performers as he bossed the midfield with ease. He played 77 minutes in Spain’s 2-2 draw with England in Wembley. Sergi Roberto didn’t feature across both games, he picked up a slight knock but is fine.
CROATIA – IVAN RAKITIC
Rakitic started in Croatia’s win over Iceland and he played 85 minutes and also registered an assist. Croatia are well positioned to qualify for the World Cup as they’re top of the group.
TURKEY – ARDA TURAN
Was finally called back to the national team and he captained his side to their first World Cup Qualifier win in four games as they beat Kosovo 2-0, Turan played the full 90 minutes.
FRANCE – LUCAS DIGNE AND SAMUEL UMTITI
Leftback Lucas Digne didn’t feature in France’s 2-1 win over Sweden but played all 90 minutes in their 0-0 draw against African champions Ivory Coast. Samuel Umtiti couldn’t feature in any as he picked up an injury in training prior to the first game which will keep him out for three weeks.
NETHERLANDS – JASPER CILLESSEN
Netherlands played a 1-1 draw against Belgium and won 3-1 against Luxemburg but Cillessen didn’t feature in any.
SPAIN UNDER 21 – DENIS SUÁREZ
The midfielder helped Spain’s Under 21 side qualify for the European Championship, featuring in both games for his team against Austria U21 which ended 1-1 and 0-0.