On Friday and Tuesday, qualifying matches were played all over Europe for the upcoming European Championship in 2012.
Several Atlético players were called up for their national selection, but most didn’t play any part. Álvaro Domínguez, who received his first invitation to the Spanish squad, did not feature in La Roja’s victories over Chile (3-2) and Liechtenstein (6-0).
A level below, our young ‘keeper Joel did not take part in Spain U-21’s double confrontation with Georgia, as captain and former team-mate David de Gea started in goal on both occasions.
Midfielder Koke had to pull out of the selection after suffering a muscle injury in training, but he is now back and fully fit at Atleti.
Thibaut Courtois is currently Belgium’s third choice behind Simon Mignolet and Jean-François Gillet and didn’t feature in the 1-1 draw against Azerbaijan or the friendly 1-0 victory over the USA.
One of Belgium’s rivals in Group A is Turkey, where Arda Turan played a key role in qualifying matches against Kazakhstan (2-1) and Austria (0-0).
On Friday the Turkish team seemed unable to beat minnows Kazakhstan at home, until a deflected free-kick by Arda deep into added time brought them the full three points.
Some days later Turan again could have become the match winner for his country, but he missed a penalty in the 90th minute, and the game against Austria ended goalless.
In Ukraine, our centre back Diego Godín featured in all 90 minutes of Uruguay’s 3-2 victory over the local side.
Eduardo Salvio travelled all the way to India and Bangladesh for friendlies against Venezuela (1-0) and Nigeria (2-0), but didn’t get in on the action for the Argentinian national team.
Our Colombian defender Luis Perea starred in 2-0 victories over Honduras and Jamaica and was even handed the captain’s armband.
Radamel Falcao didn’t play the first friendly because of a hand sprain and the passing of his grandfather, but assisted Los Cafeteros’ first goal against the Jamaicans before being substituted in the 82nd minute.