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No fewer than sixteen members of the FC Barcelona first team squad have been away on international duty this week. Now it’s all over, let’s take a look at how each of them got on.
Marc-André Ter Stegen: The goalkeeper was on for the first half of the 2-0 friendly win for Germany against Finland, but sat out the World Cup qualifier in Norway, which his side won 3-0.
Gerard Piqué: The centre back was on for 59 minutes of the 2-0 friendly win in Belgium, and was on for the full ninety of an easy 8-0 defeat of Liechtenstein in new Spain manager Lopetegui’s competitive debut.
Jordi Alba: Exactly the same as Piqué! He came off in the same minute against Belgium but stayed on for the whole of the World Cup qualifier in Leon.
Sergio Busquets: He was the only European Barça player to feature in all 180 minutes of international football this week. It was also he who supplied the assist for one of Morata’s goals in the 8-0 battering of Liechtenstein.
Sergi Roberto: He only came on for a token five minutes at the end of the Belgium game, but for the official match he started and was able to celebrate with his first full international goal, the second of the game and the one that opened the floodgates.
Paco Alcácer: Was not used in either Spain fixture, but after missing out on Euro 2016, it looks like Lopetegui has the Barça striker in mind as an option for the World Cup qualifying campaign.
Denis Suárez: The Galician played 72 minutes of the Spain U21 team’s somewhat routine 6-0 defeat of San Marino and also the full 90 of the frustrating 1-1 draw in Sweden.
Jasper Cillessen: Was an unused substitute in both of Holland’s games, a 2-1 friendly defeat at home to Greece and a World Cup qualifying draw (1-1) in Sweden.
Samuel Umtiti: Played just seven minutes of the impressive 3-1 friendly defeat of Italy, but sat out the less satisfactory 0-0 draw in Belarus, the latter a competitive fixture.
Lucas Digne: Only came on in injury time against the Italians and was left on the bench for the game in Belarus.
André Gomes: Played 27 minutes of the 5-0 rout of Gibraltar, but minor injury concerns meant he was unused as Portugal lost 2-0 to Switzerland in their opening World Cup qualifying match.
Ivan Rakitic: Croatia was the only side not to warm-up with a friendly, going straight into a competitive 1-1 draw with Turkey, with Rakitic scoring their only goal.
Leo Messi: Was on for the full ninety as Argentina beat Uruguay, and scored the only goal of the game to cap a tremendous performance. However, hamstring trouble meant he did not travel to Venezuela for his country’s other qualifying fixture.
Javier Mascherano: Another full house. The full 90 of the win against Uruguay, and the same again as Argentina had to settle for a 2-2 draw in Venezuela.
Luis Suárez: Played all ninety minute on the opposite side to Messi and Mascherano and was on for another 76 as Uruguay outclassed Paraguay in a 4-0 win. Suárez was one of the main men in Montevideo, scoring one goal and setting up two more for Cavani.
Neymar Jr: The third and final Barça player to get 180 minutes of international football this week. Neymar provided a penalty and an assist as Brazil took three points from the difficult trip to Ecuador, and then did the same, a goal and an assist, as Colombia were beaten 2-1 on Tuesday.
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