18 November 2020
Beginning our round-up with last night’s South American World Cup Qualifying, Brazil bested Uruguay 2-0 in Montevideo, in what was a “Bianconeri derby”, with Rodrigo Bentancur starting for La Celeste and Arthur and Danilo lining up for Brazil. Arthur scored Brazil’s opener, as well as his first goal for the Selecao, as both he Danilo played the full 90 minutes. Everton’s Richarlison grabbed the game’s other goal, with Bentancur being withdrawn after 61 minutes, as Manchester United’s Edinson Cavani was dismissed 10 minutes later.
Moving onto the Estadio Rodrigo Paz Delgado in Ecuador and it was a resounding 6-1 win for the hosts over Colombia, with Juan Cuadrado playing the full 90 minutes. Goals from Robert Arboleda, Angel Mena, Michael Estrada and Xavier Arreaga saw the home team race into an early 4-0 lead, before James Rodriguez pulled a goal back before half-time. Gonzalo Plata added a fifth before being shown a second yellow card, with Pervis Estupinan completing the rout.
In Europe, there were four Bianconeri involved with their respective national teams. Portugal finished their Nations League group in second place by winning 3-2 in Croatia, with Ronaldo playing the full 90 minutes. Mateo Kovacic gave the home side a first half lead, with Marko Rog then shown a second yellow early in the second half, as Ruben Dias equalised for Portugal a minute later. Joao Felix swung the game in Portugal's favour on the hour mark, although the lead didn't last lung as Kovacic struck his second five minutes later. Late drama ensued with Ruben Dias scoring his second one minute into stoppage time to hand Portugal the win.
In the second Bianconeri derby of the day, Adrien Rabiot's France took on Dejan Kulusevski's Sweden in a 4-2 win for Les Bleus. The Swedes took an early lead through Viktor Claesson before Olivier Giroud levelled. Benjamin Pavard fired France ahead before half-time, with Giroud scoring once again on 51 minutes to extend the hosts lead. Robin Quaison struck late in the game before Kingsley Coman made it safe five minutes into stoppage time.
Closing this European evening was the match between Spain and Germany, which was decisive for qualification to the Nations League Final Four. The Spaniards would be the ones to advance and in some style, winning 6-0 against Germany. Alvaro Morata opened the scoring for Spain, playing 73 minutes of the fixture, as Ferran Torres grabbed a hat-trick with Rodri and Mikel Oyarzabal amongst the rest of the scorers.
This evening marks the final round of international matches for the Bianconeri and Federico Bernardeschi's Italy can qualify for the Nations League Final Four. However, eyes will also be on the match between Wojciech Szczesny's Poland and the Netherlands, because in the event of a victory for one of these two sides and a defeat for the Azzurri would see Roberto Mancini's team slide into second position. Merih Demiral's Turkey rounds off the fixtures, as they come up against Hungary for first place in the group and, consequently, promotion to League A of the Nations League.