Another week of international football, means another week of tracking Real Madrid’s stars away from Valdebebas, as they join up with their national teams. The hope for club head coaches and managers around the continent is for their players to avoid injuries, and in that regard, Zinedine Zidane will be pleased with what he’s seen so far.
Spain 1-1 Netherlands
In a repeat of the 2010 FIFA World Cup final, Marco Asensio was given a starting role by Luis Enrique, and the Madrid forward continued his recovery to form, confidence and match fitness with a decent showing, but there is still a long road ahead of the 24-year old. He had a really good opportunity in the first half when he was one on one, but instead of putting his laces through it, he slowed down the entire move and instead, his cut-back failed too, in a frustrating move. In the second half, Asensio had another decent opportunity, but from Hector Bellerin’s cross, Asensio took a touch and then had a shot which was deflected out of danger. While Asensio failed to make much of an impact, neither did Sergio Ramos, though Real and Spain’s captain did make history when he came on with five minutes left on the clock.
Ramos made his 176th appearance for the Reds, equaling Gianluigi Buffon’s international caps record for any European side. The 34-year old will no doubt want to break the all-time national team appearance record, which is 184 caps by Egypt’s Ahmed Hassan.
Former Real player Sergio Canales got the opening goal within the opening 20 minutes, before last summer’s Madrid target Donny van de Beek equalised for the Dutch, two minutes into the second half.
France 0-2 Finland
Over at the Stade de France, Raphael Varane replaced Barcelona’s Clement Lenglet in the 80th minute as the world champions were humbled by lowly Finland. Marcus Forss and Onni Valakari were the two goalscorers for the Finns, who faced a Les Bleus side without Ferland Mendy or Kylian Mbappe.
Turkey 3-3 Croatia
Luka Modric came on in the 77th minute, after there was goalscoring carnage in the clash in the minutes that preceded his arrival on the pitch. The hosts took a 2-1 lead into the break, with goals from Cenk Tosun and Deniz Turuc cancelling out Ante Budemir’s equaliser. But the 2018 World Cup finalists fought back, and equalised through Mario Pasalic, before Josip Brekalo put Croatia 3-2 up with both goals coming within three second half minutes. Cengiz Under ensured that lead was short lived, and his equaliser before the hour mark was how it would end on the scoresheet, despite a Modric cameo.
Poland 2-0 Ukraine
Elsewhere, Andriy Lunin had a night to forget against Poland. Real’s second keeper decided to turn into sweeper-keeper just before the 40th minute, but totally miscued his clearance, which fell to Krzysztof Piątek who had an empty net to aim at. And Jakub Moder ensured the Poles would win, as he doubled their lead in the second half.
The game just highlighted how the 21-year old keeper needs regular minutes if he is to fulfill his potential.