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The penultimate international break of 2021 is over, and the time has come to take stock of what it all means for the different FC Barcelona players.
Sergio Busquets (180 mins): The Barça captain was spectacular at the UEFA Nations League Final Four, where he was named tournament MVP after masterminding the team to a 2-1 defeat of Italy in the semi-final (a goal assist included), before losing the final to France 2-1.
Eric Garcia (90'):
The centre back didn’t play against Italy but started the final and performed brilliantly against one of the most lethal frontlines in world football.
Sergi Roberto (7): Called up as a late replacement, the Barça full back only played the last few minutes of the semi-final, coming on for Barça colleague Gavi, and wasn’t involved in the final.
Gavi (158): Many doubted whether Luis Enrique was right to call up the Masia graduate at such a young age, in fact he became the youngest ever debutant for the Spanish national team at just 17 years and 62 days. But he certainly silenced the doubters with a fabulous display against Italy, and also started and shone in the final.
Nico (59): The midfielder made his U21 debut as a second half substitute in the 3-2 defeat of Slovakia and also came on towards the end of the 3-0 win over Northern Ireland.
Frenkie de Jong (150): The midfielder played the whole game as Holland scraped a win against Latvia, and then played the first hour of the 6-0 thrashing of Gibraltar. The wins mean the Dutch will go into the final games top of their group, with a potential head-to-head with Norway to decide who goes to Qatar.
Memphis (180): The Dutch striker has set a new record for goals in a calendar year for Holland. He assisted Klaassen for the only goal against Latvia and then scored two and assisted two as they trounced Gibraltar, and that was despite missing a penalty.
Luuk de Jong (0): Louis Van Gaal did not use the striker in either of the games.
Ter Stegen (90): The Barça goalkeeper played the full 90 of the game with Romania, in which Germany came from behind to win 2-1. He was not used in the game with North Macedonia, as a result of which the Germans became the first team to be confirmed as joining hosts Qatar in next year’s finals.
Demir (7): The young winner came on for the final minutes of the 2-0 win in the Faroe Islands, but played no part in the 1-0 loss to Denmark that ended all chances of Austria qualifying from this group, although there is still a chance that they could go into the playoffs by virtue of their Nations League ranking.
Dest (150): The Barça man played 77 minutes of the 2-0 defeat of Jamaica, giving one assist, but was then unused in the disappointing 1-0 defeat to Panama. He then played 73 minutes of the final USMNT match of the break against Costa Rica, scoring from the edge of the area to help the U.S.A. to a 2-1 win, who consolidate second in the Concacaf table and remain on course for a place in the finals.
Araujo (103): The centre back came on for the second half of the 0-0 draw with Colombia and then had to retire towards the end of the game with Argentina due to a hamstring injury. His side lost that game 3-0, and are now only narrowly clinging onto the coveted fourth qualifying spot, with a tricky trip to Conmebol leaders Brazil still to come.
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