This has been an international break which has provided us with plenty of new info, and after this break, the return to the domestic seasons are very much welcomed. While there are so many small story-lines zipping around like Cassano being back, France losing to Belarus at home, Cypress getting a 4-4 draw against Portugal, Portugal losing to Norway, England getting into their groove, and Scotland first in their qualifying group, above Spain!
Yes, so much to talk about, and there will be so much which I'll probably miss, but let's start with this amazing goal by Hamit Altintop. A wonder-volley which helped Turkey win 3-0 against Kazakhistan, and right now their group has Germany first, Turkey second (both at six points), Austria third with three points, and Belgium, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan all at zero points.
Here's the goal below, I certainly think that it's the best I've ever seen: so much power and precision, just to shoot a ball like that from the corner boggles my mind, but to place it where he placed it, absolutely wonderful.
I hope you liked that...
Now, moving on to other matters, Italy have finally found their form again with a 2-1 comeback win against Estonia and a 5-0 demolition job against the Faroe Islands. Cassano was instrumental in both games, getting two goals (one of which a fantastic powerful shot), and a sublime back-heel assist. It seems like not only has Cassano found his form again, but so has Italy, and the 2006 World Cup champions now find themselves comfortably in first place with six points, two points ahead of second placed Serbia.
Probably the other big disappointment at the World Cup found a way to make us laugh again, I'm talking about France. Les Bleus found a way to lose 1-0 to Belarus at the Stade de France in Paris, a goal by Kislyak in the 86th minute made every Frenchman hold his head in his hands, realizing that the Domenech might still be looming over the team. Luckily enough, the French team did find a way to win away against Bosnia-Herzegovina, with Benzema smiling for the first time in about two years after scoring. Malouda scored the other goal as France now find themselves fourth in their group a point behind first placed Albania.
Sweden have returned to winning, a 6-0 win against San Marino with Zibra's return to the National team helps them move up to first in their group E. They're ahead of the Netherlands by goal difference, who only thrashed San Marino 5-0, shame on the Oranjes who will also be interestingly be missing Robin van Persie (aka weakling), and Dirk Kuyt (aka clueless). The Arsenal man will be missing about 6 weeks, and the Liverpool forward could miss around 4 weeks. Two big losses for their clubs, Arsenal will lose their main striker yet again, and although I called him clueless, Kuyt does cover a lot of ground as he sprints around the field chasing the ball better than most dogs would do.
Not much else to say in context to the European Championship qualifying of 2012, although it should be mentioned that Portugal have decided to be the new France as they drew 4-4 against Cyprus at home, and then lost 1-0 to Norway. They find themselves bottom last in their group with one point, a great start for Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest of his Portuguese buddies.
I have to mention that Argentina defeated the World Champions Spain in a friendly, the final result was 4-1. The Spanish team were tired from travelling, and the result really flattered the Argentineans as Spain hit the woodwork about three times and Pepe Reina probably had his worst game ever, and I mean like ever since he started playing. But it shows that maybe, just maybe Maradona wasn't the right guy, and while all of us love him a little bit inside, maybe the Argentinean FA should stick to sane coaches. If you want to read more about Argentina winning against Spain and see the highlights, check out Livin La Liga.
Share your thoughts below if you'd like by commenting, I can't wait for domestic leagues to restart, what about you? BTW Remember to vote in the poll at the top of the sidebar on who you think will win the Champions League, the group stages start soon! Cheers.