A number of Real Madrid’s first team squad were in action last night with their national teams. It was a largely successful evening for the madridistas with Spain, Germany, France, Portugal and Argentina all racking up wins against their respective opponents. Here’s a quick review of yesterday’s matches.
It started out as a shocking night for Spanish fans as Chile deservedly took a two-goal lead into the second half. Mauricio Isla scored the first goal of the night on 11 minutes after he sent an excellent strike past Iker Casillas. Chile’s lead was doubled nine minutes later as Eduardo Vargas rounded Iker Casillas and scored into the empty net.
However, as the second half began, Spain regained their rhythm as Xabi Alonso was replaced by Iniesta, who scored Spain’s first goal of the night 55 minutes in. La roja were level on the 71st minute as another substitute Cesc Fabregas slotted past the Chilean keeper after an excellent Spanish move. After Chile was reduced to 10 men because of a Pablo Contreras challenge on Santi Cazorla, Spain scored the winner into extra time from the penalty spot (Arbeloa went to ground in the area after a small challenge...). Fabregas found the net to complete his brace after Bravo pushed his penalty kick onto the post. The match ended in some ugly scenes as Spain secured a 3-2 victory.For highlights, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qvbl-9u3FLY
In Germany our very own maestro Mesut Ozil starred in Germany’s 6-2 annihilation of Austria as the German side sealed their place in Euro 2012. It was Ozil who started the eight-goal thriller on the eighth minute after his volley from long-range took a deflection off Kose. He then found the net 23 minutes in as our skinny German sidestepped the keeper and slotted into the empty goal. Five minutes later, Lukas Podolski added his name to the score sheet. However, Austria grabbed a slight consolation before the first half was over, as he headed the ball past Manuel Neuer.
The second half picked off where the first left off. Ozil turned on the turbo and scored an excellent goal past Austrian goalkeeper Christian Gratzei. Austria then scored again on the 51st minute with a powerful shot from Martin Harnik. That would be it for Austria as Andre Schurrle and Mario Gotze rounded off an impressive victory for the Germans.
I had the pleasure of watching the replay this morning and I assure you it was a fabulous match with equally fabulous goals from both sides. I recommend you watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1crP6rPKho
Elsewhere, France squeezed to a win against Albania 2-1 as an in-form Karim Benzema notched a goal (a brilliant one to say, to say the least) and an assist.
Benzema later talked about the match:
"It was a very good start, we defended well together and we always tried to attack," he told L'Equipe.
"It's a shame to concede [a] goal early in the second half to a long ball which was a surprise, but the key is to have held on to the end. It was important to take all three points."
Right now, I feel good both physically and mentally. With the other offensive players, we are [starting] to know [each other] better and better. Everybody trusts me, I try to do the same. I worked hard to defend. This is normal, it's for the team. I am happy with my game," he concluded.
Portugal saw a shower of goals with their 4-0 victory over Cyprus. It was a victory that was made easier after Cyprus had a man sent off early for a handball in the penalty area. The resulting penalty kick was Ronaldo and Portugal’s first of the night. Coentrao was also nearly on the score-sheet, but his shot unluckily hit the post. Ronaldo then scored a second with a typically powerful finish. Almeida and Danny each added a strike to their name before the final whistle was blown.Three members of Real Madrid’s first team squad were involved: Ronaldo, Pepe, and Coentrao.
"I shut people up all year. I do not care about what others do or say," he said, according to RTP.
"I want to continue my work, I started this season in good form, with important goals, and I want this to continue. I always try to give my best."
Questioned about the case involving his club teammate, Ricardo Carvalho, who left Portugal's camp on Wednesday, Ronaldo said: "Everything that happened is now over, coach Paulo Bento has already talked about this and what we think stays in the group."
In India Argentina squeaked to a 1-0 win, thanks to an Otamendi header over a stubborn Venezuelan side. The squad included Real Madrid’s Di Maria and Higuain.
Highlights:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3FQ5_kjNPU (sorry for the quality, I couldn’t find better).
And for people still confused about Netherland's leap-frogging of Spain in the FIFA rakings, I can give no answer except Netherland’s 11-0 win over a helpless San Marino side, which may provide us with a small hint.