We often complain about the international break. It’s gruelling, it’s taxing, it’s an extra avenue where players could get injured, and it’s a distraction from Real Madrid’s quest for the treble. But damn, at its peak — politics, emotion, and high-stakes involved — it’s incredible.
Over the past 24 hours, we saw Lionel Messi put an entire nation on its back. We saw Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard (among others), shine at the U21 level. We saw Achraf dominate the left (!) flank with Morocco, Robben playing his last game in orange, the US Men’s National Team going down in an unthinkable way, and somewhere amid all this madness, Chile saw their qualification hopes vanish.
Chile, winners of both the 2015 and 2016 Copa America, saw their World Cup hopes rapidly vanish on Tuesday night. As they watched, in horror, Brazil putting three goals past them, they also had to endure hearing Peru had drawn 1-1 with Colombia — meaning Peru had the upper-hand due to goal difference.
Casemiro played the full 90 as the anchor, with Augusto and Paulinho just in front of him. He had several key interventions, three interceptions, and hovered mostly in his own third, without much instruction to venture forward any further like he typically does for Real Madrid with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric covering for him.
And with that, this edition of the international break comes to an end, and all of us at Managing Madrid are looking forward to re-shifting our focus to club football — for now.