Chelsea’s Diego Costa and Andre Schürrle brought back to earth in Euro 2016 qualifying

No fewer than 34 Chelsea players have been out on international duty this week, leaving Cobham a very quiet place.

In Europe, Euro 2016 qualifying is gathering momentum, but, in Slovakia on Thursday night, neither Diego Costa – in his sixth scoreless game for his country – nor Cesc Fàbregas could prevent Spain losing 2-1 – their first qualifying defeat since 2006.

World champions Germany, for whom André Schürrle played 77 minutes, fared no better on Saturday, losing 2-0 in Poland.

Gary Cahill though was rarely troubled as England beat San Marino 5-0, while Belgium – featuring Thibaut Courtois, but missing Eden Hazard with toe bruising – overcame Andorra 6-0.

Petr Cech’s Czech Republic beat Turkey 2-1, while Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matic helped Serbia to a 1-1 draw with Armenia.

In 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying, Mohamed Salah scored for Egypt as they beat Botswana 2-0, but John Mikel Obi and Kenneth Omeruo (on loan at Middlesbrough) could not prevent defending champions Nigeria losing 1-0 in Sudan.

Loanees Bertrand Traoré (Vitesse Arnhem) and Christian Atsu (Everton) featured for Burkina Faso – who lost 2-0 to Gabon – and Ghana – who drew 1-1 with Guinea – respectively.

In friendly action, Filipe Luis, Oscar and Willian all played 90 minutes as Brazil beat Argentina 2-0 in Beijing, but Loïc Rémy was an unused substitute as France won 2-1 against Portugal.

England U-21 beat Croatia 2-1 in their Euro 2015 play-off first leg, with loanee Mario Pasalic (Elche) featuring for Croatia. Kurt Zouma was substituted before half-time in France’s 2-0 win over Sweden and is doubtful for Tuesday’s second leg with a thigh strain.

Nathan Aké played for Holland in a 2-0 first leg defeat to Portugal, while Andreas Christensen helped Denmark to a 0-0 draw with Iceland.

At U-19 level, Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored one and assisted another as England beat Belarus 3-0.

Feature image courtesy of Brent Flanders, with thanks

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