Spain’s midfielder David Silva shoots against Liechtenstein’s goalkeeper Peter Jehle during the WC 2018 football qualification match between Spain and Liechtenstein at the Reyno de Leon Stadium in Leon on September 5, 2016. / AFP / MIGUEL RIOPA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)
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Several Manchester City players strapped up for FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches on Monday and Tuesday as the September International break drew to a close.
Monday and Tuesday continued with several more World Cup Qualifiers in the UEFA and CONMEBOL sections, that featured several Manchester City players.
After several matches over last weekend, seven Manchester City players were listed for National Teams that took part in World Cup Qualifying on Monday and Tuesday. Here is a recap of the players that featured in UEFA and CONMEBOL qualifying matches.
UEFA: David Silva (Spain): In a 8-0 drubbing over Liechtenstein, Silva netted two goals and added an assist. The Spanish Magician helped Spain dominate in the second half, as they netted seven goals in the 45 minutes. His first goal was slammed home into the roof of the net from close range, before assisting on Victor Vitolo‘s tally. His second tally came in second-half stoppage time when his left footed shot found the bottom right corner. Silva had 66 completed passes, and one shot go off the post. Looks like Silva is enjoying his new role with Spain so far!
Nolito (Spain): Also featuring in the 8-0 victory for Spain, Nolito came on as a halftime sub. He proceeded to add three assists in the second half. The winger also had one shot on target and 20 completed passes. Nolito has been a great surprise for Manchester City in the early part of the season, and his strong form looks to be continuing in the national squad as well.
Alexander Zinchenko (Ukraine): The 19-year-old attacking midfielder started for Ukraine in a 1-1 draw vs Iceland. He was subbed off in the 90th minute but helped his side earn a crucial point against Iceland. In a match with Ukraine easily could have won 2-1, Zinchenko had one shot on target.
Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium): In a 3-0 road victory vs Cyprus, De Bruyne started and played the full 90 for Roberto Martinez‘s side. He had one shot on target, and completed 53 passes out of 59 (89%). He also had seven key passes. No points for De Bruyne, but ultimately was a huge threat for Cyprus’ back-line.
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CONMEBOL: Nicolas Otamendi (Argentina): In a 2-2 draw vs Venezuela, Otamendi netted a late equalizing goal from close range to help his side earn a point. Defensively, Otamendi won 11 duels, made five clearances, and won three tackles. He had an 85% successful passing rate and was 7/9 on long passes.
Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina): Zabaleta also featured for the full match at right back. He made two tackles, won two duels, and had a 86% completion rate passing-wise. He is a tough defender that definitely brought a lot of grit into the back-line for Argentina. The chemistry of himself and Otamendi is huge for the right side of Argentina’s back-line.
Marlos Moreno (Colombia): After being an unused sub on Friday, Moreno was an 82nd minute sub off the bench in Colombia’s 2-1 defeat at Brazil. His late appearance didn’t feature a shot or many passes, but seeing him out there was a good sign for the future. For a side with many attacking weapons, the 19-year-old can be happy he was brought on.
Willy Caballero, Fernandinho, Fernando, and Claudio Bravo all were not listed on their respective rosters for Round #8 of CONMEBOL qualifiers.
Overall, it was great to see the league take a break for national sides to take center-stage. Players like David Silva, Nolito, and Nicolas Otamendi helped their sides take a huge step in the right direction for qualifying. The next international break issued by FIFA will take place between October 3-11.