How Barcelona Players Fared on International Duty
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The intermittent nature of the football season saw us break for internationals again just a few weeks in.
After a sparkling start to their La Liga campaign, Barcelona became victims of their own success once more with many of their star players replacing the Blaugrana with national team apparel.
A mixture of World Cup qualifiers and international friendlies populated the fixture list.
Let's take a look how the Barca players fared in their respective matches.
Spain vs. Finland
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Gerardo Martino should be delighted that Barcelona's Spanish contingent enjoyed a quiet night against a lacklustre Finnish side.
Vicente Del Bosque decided to start with Real Madrid's Iker Casillas, despite his lack of minutes this season, thus ensuring that Victor Valdes had the most mundane of evenings.
Despite a slow start, Spain soon found their rhythm, and the familiar passing carousels were evident throughout. Barca players found each other at will.
Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta and Jordi Alba linked particularly well down the left side, and when Alba darted forward on a trademark run, Fabregas' lofted ball to leave the left back with the simplest chance was pure poetry.
Iniesta was certainly enjoying his freedom. An imperious pass completion rate of 94 percent from 160 passes speaks for itself.
Xavi Hernandez, who else, was at the heart of everything that La Roja produced and contributed handsomely to a preposterous total of 922 completed passes. It was a fitting display from a player celebrating his 127th appearance for the national team, taking him to second in the all-time list, behind Casillas (150).
Perhaps only Pedro Rodriguez should be disappointed with his overall contribution. The winger really wasn't at the races all game and won't look back too fondly on his night's work.
Brazil vs. Australia
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Australia were a very poor match for a rampant Brazilian side, inspired by Bernard.
The Selecao were quick out of the blocks, and once Jo had opened the scoring on 11 minutes, there was only one winner in this game.
Two goals in two minutes as we approached half-time completely killed the game. Jo doubled his and his country's tally on 34 minutes; then Barcelona's new star Neymar made good on a Ramires through-ball for his 25th goal for Brazil.
His all-round contribution once again justified his selection, despite the match taking on the air of a training game in the second half, so poor were the opposition.
Chile vs. Venezuela
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Goalkeeper and captain Claudio Bravo had little to do, but was alert and quick to any infrequent danger.
A 3-0 win was just reward for a good all-round attacking performance from the Chileans, and Sanchez's industry and work rate were to the fore in this one.
Along with Eduardo Vargas, Sanchez was an omnipresent danger, the only surprise being that he didn't find his name on the scoresheet.
With 20 of Venezuela's 24 man squad unable to train due to illness, according to Thomas Hautmann of Fox Soccer, it's a wonder that the visitors could field a team at all.