Chelsea Players on International Duty Wrap

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 06: Frank Lampard of England in action during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifying Group H match between England and Moldova at Wembley Stadium on September 6, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The tumbleweeds have been blowing across Premier League stadia this weekend, with the English top flight taking a brief sabbatical to make way for World Cup qualifiers.

While it may have been a quiet weekend for their manager, however, it hasn't meant Jose Mourinho's charges have been able to put their feet up, with 15 of Chelsea's current first team on duty with their countries.

There have been mixed fortunes, too, so sit back as Bleacher Report recounts how the Blues' international crop have fared in their bid to reach Brazil 2014.

Samuel Eto'o

The Cameroon striker has only been at Chelsea a fortnight and is yet to feature for his new club, but Chelsea fans would have kept a close eye on his performance for his country on Sunday.

Cameroon faced Libya at Yaounde's Stade Ahmadou-Ahidjo, winning the game 1-0 to make sure of their place in the World Cup playoffs.

Aurelien Chedjou scored the only goal of the game, with his strike coming just before the interval to ensure Cameroon finished top of Group I.

With the group stages now over, all the teams finishing top of their respective groups will now be drawn against another team in the playoffs, with the winner of each match-up progressing to the World Cup next summer.

David Luiz, Ramires, Oscar and Mark Schwarzer

There's no disguising who will have the bragging rights when Chelsea's players return from international duty later this week after Brazil thumped Australia 6-0.

Oscar was feeling the effects of an injured ankle, so didn't appear against teammate Mark Schwarzer who was back in goal for Australia. David Luiz and Ramires did, though, with the latter finding himself on the scoresheet having returned to the international fold.

Ramires scored the fourth goal of the night, with the other strikes coming from Jo (2), Neymar, Alexandre Pato and Luis Gustavo.

You can read Bleacher Report's full match report on the game here.

John Mikel Obi

Nigeria defeated Malawi 2-0 on Saturday, booking their place in the World Cup qualifiers.

John Mikel Obi featured for the Super Eagles, while Chelsea teammate Victor Moses—currently on loan at Liverpool—bagged a goal in the victory.

It was a dominant performance from Nigeria and Emmanuel Emenike opened the scoring shortly before the interval, with Moses finding the back of the net from the penalty spot after 51 minutes.

Michael Essien

Injuries have certainly blighted the career of Michael Essien in recent years, but he made a welcome return to international duty on Friday, making his first appearance for Ghana since January 2010.

It was over three years ago when he injured his knee at the Africa Cup of Nations and it has been a long road back to representing the Black Stars for the Chelsea midfielder.

Coming off the bench after 55 minutes, Essien helped his country to a 2-1 win over Zambia.

Majeed Waris and Kwadwo Asamoah were on target for Ghana, while Nathan Sinkala scored for Zambia in a match that saw Chelsea's new recruit Christian Atsu also appear for the Black Stars.

Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard

Belgium have all but secured their place at Brazil 2014 following a 2-0 win over Scotland on Friday.

Eden Hazard was forced to sit the game out due to an Achilles injury, but the Blues were still represented by Kevin De Bruyne, who played the full 90 minutes.

Loan star Thibaut Courtois featured in goal for the Belgians, keeping a clean sheet, while Romelu Lukaku—on loan himself at Everton—was an unused substitute.

Belgium's goals at Hampden Park came from Steven Defour and Kevin Mirallas.

Two games remain in Group A, with Belgium top and Scotland rooted to the foot of the table.

Branisalv Ivanovic

Serbia will not be repeating their exploits from the 2010 World Cup having failed to defeat Croatia last Friday.

Branislav Ivanovic captained the team, but they could only draw 1-1 with their rivals who sit in second place behind Belgium in Group A, meaning they cannot reach Brazil 2014.

With two games remaining and nine points separating the teams, the gap is too big for Serbia to close and Croatia will now at least reach the playoffs.

Mario Mandzukic had put Croatia ahead in Belgrade but Aleksandar Mitrovic levelled for Serbia shortly after the hour, which is how the score remained.

Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill

England ran out comfortable winners against Moldova on Friday, defeating the Wembley visitors 4-0.

Steven Gerrard opened the scoring after he turned in Frank Lampard's lay-off while Rickie Lambert made it two goals from two England caps and Danny Welbeck bagged a brace.

Roy Hodgson's team now top Group H and have a game in hand over Montenegro.

Gary Cahill played the full match, although Ashley Cole had to settle for 45 minutes, being replaced by Leighton Baines at half time.

Lampard's appearance means the Chelsea ace could win his 100th cap for England against Ukraine in Tuesday's crunch fixture.

Petr Cech

It's between Czech Republic, Armenia, Denmark and Bulgaria who will secure second place in Group B of the European qualifiers, with just one point separating all four countries.

Bulgaria are in pole position, currently sitting in second on 10 points, while the Czechswho face group leaders Italy on Tuesdayare joint on nine with Armenia and Denmark.

To make things even more difficult for themselves, Czech Republic lost 2-1 to Armenia on Friday night, with Petr Cech appearing in goal for his country.

He will be hoping for a better result against the Italians.

Andre Schurrle

Chelsea's summer acquisition Andre Schurrle was an unused substitute as Germany ran out 3-0 winners over Austria in Munich.

The German goals came from Miroslav Klose, Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes


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