A night riddled with despair for Real Madrid.
That’s after more UEFA Nations League fixtures today, though it was a night full of concerns for Zinedine Zidane, who will have witnessed his captain Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane come off with injuries, ahead of a hectic schedule for Real.
Spain 6-0 Germany
This was a result which would normally have been celebrated in the Madrid media, as it was almost vintage Spain. La Roja came out of the blocks early and completely shut down and overran the German midfield which included Toni Kroos, who was back from suspension. Alvaro Morata opened the scoring, before Ferran Torres doubled the Spanish lead, who could have been four or five ahead in the opening half hour.
Rodri made it three, and a second headed goal from a corner-kick, before the magnificent Torres completed a fine hat-trick, a performance which only emphasised how difficult of a task Marco Asensio has if he wants to usurp the right-wing position ahead of the Manchester City forward. And second half substitute Mikel Oyarzabal added to the German woes to complete the drubbing. But the main focus is on Ramos from a Madrid perspective, who had to come off with pain running down his hamstring, moments before half-time. Initial reports that came out of the game weren’t looking positive.
Kroos completed the full 90 minutes, and Zidane will be able to call upon his midfield general come Saturday.
France 4-2 Sweden
Over at the Stade de France, the world champions went behind after four minutes to a Viktor Claesson goal for the Swedes. But a brace for Olivier Giroud either side of Benjamin Pavard strike restored comfort for Les Bleus on home soil. Varane had to be brought off at half-time by Didier Deschamps, after complaining about a niggle, and it remains to be seen how serious the Frenchman’s injury is.
There was a late come back attempted by the visitors through Robin Quaison, but Kingsley Coman’s rich vain of form continued, as the Bayern Munich forward came on to ensure the victory was sealed.
Croatia 2-3 Portugal
Luka Modric played the entire game, but it was former Real player Mateo Kovacic who stole the headlines, as the former club teammates locked horns with another, in the shape of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Kovacic opened the scoring and then equalised in the second too, after goals from Ruben Dias and Joao Felix cancelled out the Croatian opener. Late on, Croatia couldn’t hold the European Champions, as Dias netted a second of the night and the decisive one – though it wouldn’t make a huge difference to the standings, as France were confirmed group winners with their victory.
Brazil U23 1-2 Egypt U23
Elsewhere, after both scored for Brazil’s U23 team at the weekend, Rodrygo Goes and Reinier Jesus were both in action one more friendly for the Selecao’s Olympic side. Rodrygo getting some crucial minutes under his belt, as he looks to continue impressing Zidane to earn a starting spot, while Reinier faces a similar challenge, after struggling for minutes at Borussia Dortmund, in his first year of two on-loan in Germany.
Japan 0-2 Mexico
Another talent on-loan this season is Takefusa Kubo, who made a substitute appearance for Japan. The damage had already been done by the South American side, who had doubled their lead just before Kubo came on in the 72nd minute.
With already so many players injured, and the frequency of key players being impacted, Zidane’s job isn’t getting any easier in the capital. The wound from the heavy defeat to Valencia before the break will still be fresh, and on Saturday, they travel to second in the league Villarreal, which will potentially have to be played without the likes of Ramos and Varane, not to the mention the others who are out with positive Covid-19 tests and other injury issues. Madrid’s season is truly on the brink.