Real Madrid international watch: Morata, Bale, Modric, James...
A quick round-up of all the news concerning the host of Real Madrid players in action for their countries around the world this week.
Spain: Ramos, Morata, Asensio, Vázquez, Carvajal
Sergio Ramos, the only Real Madrid player named in the starting XI for Julen Lopetegui’s first competitive match in charge, captained Spain to an impressive 8-0 win over Liechtenstein in León on Monday night. The floodgates opened in the second half after a dogged opening 45 minutes and Álvaro Morata grabbed two goals after coming on as a substitute with just 20 minutes to go.
Marco Asensio made his competitive debut for Spain and, in the process, committed his international future to La Roja. The 20 year-old, whose mother was Dutch, was also eligible to play for the Netherlands. Real Madrid teammates Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vázquez were unused substitutes.
Gareth Bale has continued his fine Euro 2016 form into the new season and was instrumental in Wales’ comprehensive 4-0 win over Moldova in Cardiff. The Real Madrid forward scored twice, his 23rd and 24th goals for his country, and set up another for Burnley’s Sam Vokes.
Bale said he hopes to lead Wales to their first World Cup finals since 1958. “It’s time to make some more history,” he said to Sky Sports after the game. “It was an important win for us to get off to a good start. We know these games are very difficult – the teams can be difficult to break down – but we’re learning to cope with that sort of play.”
Bale is now just 4 behind Ian Rush’s record tally of 28 goals for Wales and on current form is likely to break the record during this qualification campaign.
Croatia: Modric, Kovacic
Luka Modric captained Croatia to a 1-1 draw against Turkey behind closed doors with fans serving a stadium ban for racist incidents during the Euro 2016 qualification campaign. The Real Madrid midfielder won a penalty just before half-time after being brought down in the box by Fenerbahce full-back Ismael Koybasi, from which Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic gave Croatia the lead, but Turkey quickly levelled through a deflected Hakan Calhanoglu free-kick.
Modric’s Real Madrid teammate Mateo Kovacic was named on the bench and was unused throughout the game.
Portugal get their World Cup qualification campaign underway tonight against Switzerland in Basel (20.45 CEST). Pepe scored the final goal in a comfortable 5-0 win over Gibraltar in Porto last week and will be hoping for a similar performance tonight.
Cristiano is of course still recovering from the knee injury that forced him off during the Euro 2016 final in July and is not part of the squad.
France also begin their World Cup campaign this evening with a tricky trip east to face Belarus (20.45 CEST). Raphaël Varane missed Euro 2016 through injury but captained France to an impressive 3-1 win over Italy in Bari last Thursday night and with Spurs keeper and regular captain Hugo Lloris still out with a hamstring injury the Real Madrid centre-back is set to lead the side again tonight.
Brazil and Colombia: Marcelo, Casemiro, James
Both Casemiro and Marcelo played 90 minutes in Brazil’s 3-0 win over Ecuador last week while James scored one and even missed a last-minute penalty to round off Colombia’s 2-0 win over Venezuela in Barranquilla.
The two nations face off tonight in Manaus (Wednesday, 02.45 CEST) with Brazil hoping to kick-start their World Cup campaign. Tite’s side currently sit in fifth after seven games with just three wins. Colombia won the last match between the two 1-0 during the 2015 Copa America in Chile, a tournament Marcelo missed through injury.
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