The international break brought about lots of action from all across Europe as the journey towards qualification for the 2018 World Cup resumed.
Kicking off on 6th October, the highlight of the European qualifiers was the much-anticipated game between Spain and Italy. A feisty affair between the two resulted in a 1-1 draw with Spain’s Vitolo scoring in the 55th minute after a mistake by veteran Gianluigi Buffon.
In the 82nd minute, a penalty was awarded to the Italians after Sergio Ramos rashly dove in and tripped Eder in the box. Italian stalwart Daniele De Rossi duly converted from the spot, drawing Italy level. There was late drama as well, with Ciro Immobile ruled offside after finding the back of the net with a shot in the six-yard box.
However, all the headlines were hogged by Spain striker Diego Costa who narrowly escaped a red card after elbowing Italy’s Leonardo Bonnuci in the face and then shoulder barging a linesman. Twitter reacted swiftly to Costa’s antics.
I don't know any other athlete that gets away with as much villainy as Diego Costa— Zito (@_Zeets) 6 October 2016
Diego Costa again escapes red. Rinse. Repeat.— Jack Brough (@Jughead180) 6 October 2016
On 7th October a couple of 4-1 wins for both France and the Netherlands against Bulgaria and Belarus respectively restored some belief for the fans Les Blues and the Oranje.
Kevin Gamiero grabbed a brace with Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann adding to the rout for France, while Quincy Promes scored a couple and Davy Klassen and Vincent Janssen finished off the game for the Dutch.
Paul Pogba’s shambolic performance got more headlines, though. The French media were at their unforgiving best and rated Pogba as the worst player on the pitch. Twitter responded to the French midfielder’s woeful performance.
I feel sorry for him.Pogba has always be average at best but his price tag has brought extra attention on his mediocrity https://t.co/5s5V3dvSjN— Paul MCG AFC (@Paulmcgettigan5) 10 October 2016
Elsewhere, Cristiano Ronaldo had a gala time on the pitch, banging in 4 goals against Andorra, in Portugal’s 6-0 win against the European minnows. The hat-trick was Ronaldo’s 42nd career hat-trick!
Ronaldo himself tweeted about this little achievement
Happy to score my first poker for Portugal— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) 7 October 2016
Ronaldo has just scored his 42nd career Hattrick Danny Graham can't even count to 42— RossCheal (@RossCheal10) 7 October 2016
People say Ronaldo finished he's on his last legs and then he just bangs in a hat-trick. What a legend.— Luke (@MartialAssist) 7 October 2016
Belgium looked impressive in their 3-0 win over Bosnia & Herzegovina with Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Toby Alderweireld getting on the scoresheet.
Hazard received much praise for his performance in the No.10 role
Belgium 2-0 Bosnia. Brilliant goal by Hazard, who is playing as a number 10 tonight and dazzling in doing so.— Adam Crafton (@AdamCrafton_) 7 October 2016
Hazard finished well from a tight angle after rounding the keeper.
On the 8th of October England played Malta but were unconvincing in their 2-0 win.
Goals from Daniel Sturridge and Delle Alli were enough to sink lowly Malta. Twitter reacted as expected to England’s performance with Wayne Rooney receiving much stick.
Wayne Rooney absolutely dictating play here against a postman, some polis, a teacher and a few binmen. Class.#ENGMAL— Furious Fergie (@Furious_Fergie) 8 October 2016
England were expected to win convincingly against Malta in Gareth Southgate’s first game in charge but only scored two.
Well that was dull #ENGMAL— Els (@Edaws93) 8 October 2016
Kyle Walker's crossing is woeful. I have seen a circumcised man pull things back better. #ENGMAL— The Middle Stump (@TheMiddleStump) 8 October 2016
Can't wait until Rashford is 30 and playing as a defensive midfielder. #engmal— John Brewin (@JohnBrewinESPN) 8 October 2016
Germany breezed past the Czech Republic with a 3-0 win and Arsenal man Mesut Ozil was hailed as the best player on the pitch.
Müller gives Germany the lead against Czech Republic. Özil with the assist pic.twitter.com/8eclo6xie0— Terje (@AFCTerje) 8 October 2016
World class performance from Ozil. Some really good performances from Germany.— I'llGoNearPost (@ilGoNearPost) 8 October 2016
Mesut Ozil assist, now there's a surprise. #AnotherOne— Ricky (@rickyAFC_91) 8 October 2016
Irish fans were delighted as the Republic Of Ireland beat Moldova 3-1 with goals from Shane Long and a brace from James McClean. The Irish fans responded in epic fashion.
Wes Hoolahan who was included in the starting lineup provided the assist for Long’s opener.
If Wes Hoolahan was 23 and English he'd be worth £30 million and playing for Man City. #ncfc— nath (@pritchxrd_) 9 October 2016
Can we make Wes Hoolahan 10 years younger? The man is a genius— LiamLallana (@liamlallana20) 9 October 2016
James McClean sealed it for the Irish
I take it all back, James McClean is Messi— Mark Pierce (@MarkMarkp80) 9 October 2016
Ireland are rubbish, pathetic wouldn't ... wait a min McClean scored- we r gonna win the World Cup lads I'm tellin ya!!! #MOLIRE— Kian Murray (@kianmurr) 9 October 2016
There were wins for Spain who won 2-0 against Albania, Serbia beat Austria 3-2, Iceland beat Turkey 2-0, Italy beat Macedonia 3-2, while Wales could only draw 1-1 against Georgia.
The Netherlands play France tonight as the World Cup Qualifiers continue.
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