There was to be a mixed evening of international football in store for Juventus players last night as the final round of friendly and World Cup qualifying fixtures were played out across Europe and South America.
Beginning closer to home, the biggest winner on Tuesday night was Leonardo Bonucci and Italy, Juve’s number 19 firing high into the net from close range to complete a quickfire first-half comeback against the Netherlands at the Amsterdam Arena.
Both Bonucci and defensive colleague Daniele Rugani completed the full 90 minutes in the comfortable 2-1 victory in the Dutch capital while skipper Gianluigi Buffon was rested in favour of Gianluigi Donnarumma.
In the day’s earlier European kick off, Marko Pjaca was stretchered off through injury 66 minutes into Croatia’s 3-0 defeat against Estonia in Tallinn.
Across the Atlantic, Juan Cuadrado’s Colombia leapfrogged Uruguay and Argentina into second place in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying with a 2-0 away win in Ecuador. Cuadrado tapped home from six yards out on 34 minutes after fine work from Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez – also on the scoresheet – to wrap up a big three points for Jose Pekerman’s team.
Tomas Rincon’s Venezuela meanwhile remain rooted to the bottom of the group after slipping to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of an Alexis Sanchez-inspired Chile in Santiago, the Arsenal forward scoring a stunning free-kick before playing a key part in Esteban Paredes’s brace to power the Chileans into a 3-0 lead inside 22 minutes.
An end-to-end second half saw West Brom’s Salomon Rondon reduce the deficit midway through the second half and Juve’s Rincon strike the bar. Paulo Dybala was an unused substitute in Argentina’s shock 2-0 defeat to lowly Bolivia in La Paz.