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Lionel Messi, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo and the 5 Key Talking Points from the International Break

Anirudh Menon
Top 5 / Top 10
14.22K   //    29 Mar 2017, 19:28 IST

Phew! What an international break this was, eh?

All the usual suspects were in the news – Neymar, Ronaldo and Messi stealing the limelight, while Lukas Podolski got possible the greatest farewell party of all time. Clint Dempsey scored for the United States, and Sunil Chhetri scored for India, as both intrepid forwards continue to remain in the top 5 international goalscorers (currently active).

The Netherlands showed us all just how depressingly poor they’ve become with back-to-back losses while France, Spain and Italy all threw out markers to the rest of the world warning them that they are all going to take some beating in the World Cup proper. 

To read more about the underperformers this week, trot on over to the ever reliable Rohith Nair’s 5 big teams in danger of missing out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but once you are done there come back right here and have a peek at the main talking points from what was a rather good international break:

1. England’s meritocracy is the right way forward

All of England’s recent tournaments have been blighted by stunted managerial strategy and a selection strategy that is more snobbishly aristocratic than the Prince of Wales. Gareth Southgate, though, has bucked the trend and Michael Keane, Jake Livermore and Jermaine Defoe are among those who’ll thank him the most.

He’s picked out players from teams regardless of where they are on the table, and he’s been brave enough to field a back three when he felt the need was there. The decision to exclude Wayne Rooney was an obvious, yet brave call and England look much the more dynamic in attack for it. 

Sure, England are far from a finished product, but they are most certainly on the right path. They are an exciting attacking unit, with a bunch of youngsters all capable of producing a game-changing moment of skill,  and if Southgate can get his defence organised with some semblance of cohesion, they can take a lot of people by surprise 

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Anirudh Menon
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