It was a mixed afternoon for the Chelsea boys representing England on Saturday, John Terry was once again captain and lined up alongside Rio Ferdinand for the first time since being given the arm-band back. Ashley Cole started the game well, getting forward where possible only to get injured and end up hobbling off. At 2-0 down Frank Lampard got England back into the game when he converted a first-half penalty but would have been disappointed at having been substituted at half-time.
Whilst Yossi Benayoun missed most of the season through injury he is now back fit and captained Israel in their Group F 2-1 win over Latvia, and he also opened the scoring. Ex-Blue defender Tal Ben-Haim then added a second from the penalty spot.
Yuri Zhirkov played the full game for Russia as they beat Almenia 3-1, he was instrumental in the third goal when he broke down the left in 73rd minute only to be knocked-over in the box by Sargis Hovsepyan – Pavlyuchenko stepped-up to smash the ball into the right corner to complete his hat-trick.
Florent Malouda represented France on Saturday againsts Belarus, the game started badly as Barcelona’s Eric Abidal who was back representing his country having recovered from his kidney tumour scored an own goal. Blues winger Malouda then scored two minutes later to bring the game back level which was how it ended.
The Netherlands travelled to Brazil for a friendly, not that it was played that way as the home side received seven yellow cards which included two for Ramires who received a second booking for a poor challenge on ex-Blue Arjen Robben late on.
Keeper Petr Cech had an impressive display for a young Czech Republic side against Peru as they drew 0-0, he was kept busy throughout the game and made an excellent save from 21-year-old striker Luis Advincula just before half-time.
It is good to see so many Chelsea players representing their country, hopefully they will all return to training in July fully fit.