Many apologies it has taken us so long for us to get anything up regarding the SUPER IMPORTANT OCCASION THAT WE TOTALLY DON'T MIND PAUSING THE SEASON FOR that is the international break. Here's a nice place for everyone to unwind a little and talk about things that aren't as keenly felt.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
Colombia rolled into action early on Thursday in a friendly against the United States. Juan Cuadrado played 88' relatively good minutes in a 2-1 comeback win against the Yankees in London.
Yesterday featured the beginning of European qualifying matches, and the big guns of Ukraine, Slovakia, Spain, England, and Switzerland all ran out comfortable winners against lesser opposition. That doesn't mean there weren't surprises though, as Liechtenstein won against Moldova 0-1, Austria beat Fabio Cappello's Russia, and San Marino (!!!) earned a point. Stefan Savic and company in Montenegro drew 1-1 against Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Sweden, with Stefan Jovetic converting the equalizing penalty. Meanwhile Neto is likely enjoying his vacation, riding the bench for the Brazilian National Team behind Valencia keeper Diego Alves. The Brazilians were comfortable 4-0 winners against Turkey.
Italy host Croatia in one of the crucial games in Group H. The azzurri are undefeated so far in qualifying under new coach Antonio Conte, but Croatia have had an equally perfect beginning to their qualifying campaign, as both teams lead the group on 9 points. Manuel Pasqual starts for the Italians, where he has been a firm favorite of Conte's despite heavy competition. Curiosity: Pasqual has started only 3 Serie A games for Fiorentina this season. Our record? 2-1-0.
In other matches, Wales earned a gritty point in a scoreless draw away in Belgium, keeping the Welsh atop their group. The Dutch took out recent frustrations on a helpless Latvia, winning 6-0 in the Netherlands. The Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and a struggling Turkey (*insert Thanksgiving joke here*) are all in action later today as well.
WHAT'S COMING UP
Monday is a day of rest for the internationals, before a flurry of friendlies on Tuesday. Among the highlights should be England - Scotland, Slovenia - Colombia, Spain - Germany, France - Sweden, Portugal - Argentina, and an intriguing Poland - Switzerland matchup. Italy play again on Tuesday in a friendly against Albania, in what will be their last match of a desperately disappointing 2014.
That should at least give you a basic orientation of what's been going on. Tell me more in the comments below.