Sami Khedira

With sixteen Real Madrid players away on international duty this week, Madridistas still had a lot to look forward to as La Liga took a break for the final round of World Cup Qualifying games. Real Madrid’s playing staff has been spread far and wide and have been competing on three continents, for eight different teams.

The team which called-up the most Real Madrid players was, of course, Spain. Both Alvaro Arbeloa and Sergio Ramos started and finished the game as Spain consolidated their position at the top of World Cup Qualifying Group I with a 2-1 win over Belarus, although neither Madrid defender could prevent Belarus grabbing a late consolation goal to spoil to Spaniards’ clean sheet. Iker Casillas was left on the bench for Spain owing to his status as his club’s number two goalkeeper and Isco was an unused sub as del Bosque chose to introduce the in-form trio of Koke, Iniesta and Negredo as Spain searched for a second half breakthrough.

Whilst Spain were busy beating Belarus, Group I opponents France were humiliating Australia 6-0 in Paris. Karim Benzema cut a depressed figure from the bench as Olivier Giroud masterfully lead the French frontline. Benzema did get himself on the scoresheet, however. Coming off the bench to score the sixth goal early in the second half with a confident finish at the near post from a low, left wing cross.

In keeping with the theme of goalscoring Madrid players, it was Sami Khedira who broke the deadlock for Germany against the Republic of Ireland on Friday evening as Germany wrapped up Group C with a comprehensive 3-0 victory. Khedira opened the scoring after 12 minutes with a deflected shot from just outside the box leaving the Irish defence with no chance. The dominating midfielder had earlier spoken of Germany’s need to score early to ensure the pressure of the game didn’t begin to build as Ireland looked to avoid another 6-1 thrashing – the score from the first game in Dublin. However, once Big Sami had opened the scoring, the result was never in doubt. This latest victory leaves Germany with 25 points from a possible 27, with one qualifier remaining.

Another Madrid player tasting victory this weekend was Brazil’s left-back, Marcelo. The pacey defender played the majority of the game as Scolari’s team fielded a strong side and comfortably beat South Korea 2-0. Marcelo was withdrawn late on in the game to keep the defender fresh for Brazil’s next friendly at home to Zambia. Whilst having no competitive games leading up to their home World Cup next summer, the Brazilians and particularly Marcelo will be delighted with the victory and clean sheet.

Perhaps the most impressive Madrid player on show was Argentina’s ngel Di Mar a. The winger captained his side for the night in-place of the injured pair of Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano and played some beautiful passes as the South Americans dispatched rivals Peru 3-1 – despite going behind early on. Di Mar a had a hand in both the first and second goals. First, his corner was finished at the second attempt by PSG striker Lavezzi, before his gorgeous blind pass to Palacio helped Lavezzi collect a second later on. With Argentina already qualified for the World Cup, this victory only added further gloss to a stellar qualifying performance.

There were certainly some disappointed Madrid players on Friday evening as both Croatia and Portugal failed to register victory in their penultimate qualifiers. In the early kick off, Luka Modri was mostly a by-stander as a powerful Belgium team swept aside Croatia for a 2-1 win. Modric displayed some good composure on the ball at times but failed to get into the game on a consistent basis thanks to the expert marshalling of the Belgian midfield of Witsel and Defour. Portugal faired slightly better but still have their World Cup dreams hanging in the balance as opponents Israel stole a late goal to take a share of the spoils in Lisbon. Pepe and Ronaldo started and finished the match but neither could muster a match winning contribution – with Ronaldo’s only gain from the night being a yellow card. Coentr o missed out due to suspension but will be available for Portugal’s final qualifying match against Luxembourg. The Portguese are guaranteed a play-off spot but that is by no means an easy route to Brazil as teams such as Turkey, Sweden and Croatia litter the remaining play-off spots.

On a brighter note, Spain’s U21 team won their third match of three to keep themselves top of their qualifying group as they bid to enter the UEFA U21 s European Championships in 2015. Jes , Carvajal and Morata all featured and Morata grabbed himself the winner as Spain triumphed 3-2 against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Morata’s goal emphasised the player’s growing confidence as he casually slotted home from a low, right wing cross without the need for a first touch.

With all the results in from the first batch of qualifiers and friendlies, Real Madrid’s players boast an international record of six wins, one draw and one defeat. The remaining eight fixtures involving the Madrid internationals will take place on Monday (Spain U21s), Tuesday (Brazil, Spain, Germany, France, Croatia, Portugal) and Wednesday (Argentina). I’ll be back with another report after those games.

The post Real Madrid Around The World: How Did The Internationals Do? appeared first on WhatCulture!.