The majority of Juve’s international stars are set to return home happy following a satisfying past few days of World Cup qualifying on either side of the Atlantic.
Beginning closer to home, there were to be opening round wins for all of the Bianconeri’s European contingent as Germany (Sami Khedira), Italy (Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Daniele Rugani), Switzerland (Stephan Lichtsteiner) and Bosnia (Miralem Pjanic) all kicked off their respective journeys to Russia 2018 in style.
Mario Mandzukic and Marko Pjaca however will head back to Vinovo with just one point after a 1-1 draw with Turkey in Zagreb.
Khedira and co. set the tone on Sunday, demonstrating just why they are the reigning world champions by easing aside Norway in Oslo thanks to goals from Thomas Muller (2) and Joshua Kimmich. Buffon’s men would follow suit the next day, overcoming Israel 3-1 in Haifa in a game which saw the return to action of Bonucci, who was absent from the Azzurri’s friendly defeat to France last week.
Tuesday brought arguably the two most eye-catching results of the international break as Lichtsteiner and his Swiss compatriots defeated EURO 2016 winners Portugal 2-0 in Basel while Pjanic’s Bosnia put five past Estonia.
In the battle of the Juve wing-backs, Dani Alves captained his Brazil side to a 2-1 victory over Juan Cuadrado’s Colombia overnight to register their second success on the spin in the South American section of World Cup qualifying. The Selecao now sit in second place behind leaders Uruguay on 15 points with Colombia two places further back on 13.
Finally, Mario Lemina’s Gabon were unable to build on Friday’s win over Sudan, succumbing to a 2-1 friendly loss to Cameroon in Limbe on Tuesday night.
All those involved in European action are expected back in Vinovo on Wednesday while those returning from further afield will be granted an extra day’s leave.