In the penultimate international break of the year, almost 100 players from Ligas BBVA and Adelante have changed club colours for the shirts of their national sides, each with the ambition of securing a ticket to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Six of those managed to do so on Friday, some had achieved it a long time ago, whilst others will be looking to qualify on Tuesday. In addition, there were ten goals scored by players from the Liga de Fútbol Profesional (LFP).
Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Colombia all secured their seats at the table in Brazil, and all four of them had Spanish football representatives. Belgium authoritatively downed Croatia 1-2 in Zagreb, complete with two representatives from LIGA BBVA side Club Atlético de Madrid: Thibaut Courtois in goal, and Toby Alderweireld in defence. It is the first time in twelve years that the Belgians have made it to a World Cup.
Switzerland also qualified, again with a 1-2 away win, this time in Albania. Real Sociedad’s Haris Seferović, who has started life in Liga BBVA excellently, will be in Brazil with his country after playing for 90 minutes in Tirana.
Germany eased passed the Republic of Ireland 3-0, Sami Khedira of Real Madrid opening the scoring for the home side after 12 minutes. Finally Colombia came back from a 0-3 halftime deficit to draw 3-3, the point being enough to confirm José Pekerman’s side a place in Brazil 2014. Carlos Sánchez of Elche CF started in central midfield, whilst Sevilla FC’s Carlos Bacca came off the bench for the final twenty minutes.
In addition to the six tickets secured for Brazil next summer, there were numerous goals ‘Made in Spain’. Khedira put Germany ahead, Alexis Sánchez (FC Barcelona) found the net twice for Chile in Colombia, Gabriel Torje (RCD Espanyol) scored a penalty against Andorra, whilst Ricardo Costa (Valencia CF) put the finishing touch to a Portuguese goal created entirely by Liga BBVA players. Vitorino Antunes (Málaga CF) crossed the ball, Pepe (Real Madrid CF) knocked the ball down, and the Valencia centre back scored the goal. Xavi Hernández opened the scoring for Spain against Belarus, taking advantage of his Barcelona teammate Gerard Piqué’s assist. Whilst Sofiane Feghouli (Valencia) gave Algeria hope in their 3-2 first leg playoff defeat to Burkina Faso.
There were three more goals in friendly matches: Neymar (Barça) put Brazil ahead against South Korea, Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) scored the final goal in France’s 6-0 rout of Australia, and Levante UD central midfielder equalised for Morocco against South Africa as they drew 1-1.