NELSPRUIT, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 23: Tim Cahill of Australia smiles at fans after victory in the game but elimination from the tournament after the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group D match between Australia and Serbia at Mbombela Stadium on June 23, 2010 in Nelspruit, South Africa. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Quite a bit of Toffees played during the first round of matches of the international break. I was lucky enough to see quite a bit of coverage thanks to espn3 ( I really should be their spokesman, the site really is great). Here are my thoughts, after the jump.
Euro 2012 Qualification
- Diniyar Bilyaletdinov - I only got to watch the last 15 minutes of Russia's 2-0 victory over Andorra. Bily got to play the whole match and from what I saw, he played alright. He picked up a harsh yellow card and lost possession a couple of times, but his fitness seemed top-notch. A solid match for Bily, he really needs to see more time for us. He's unafraid of shooting, and that's something we really need.
- Jan Mucha - He started, played the whole match (obviously), and kept a clean sheet for Slovakia's thrilling 1-0 victory over Macedonia. Not much to say here, he made good saves when called upon.
- Marouane Fellaini - Fellaini still hasn't matched the dominant play he showed us last season right before his injury, but he is getting better every match. Belgium lost the match 0-1 to a 51st minute strike by Miroslav Klose. The 'Fro played the whole match and played decently, hopefully he'll return to pre-injury form soon.
- Phil Jagielka - I didn't get to watch this match, but from what I read he played well (England beat Bulgaria 4-0). They kept a clean sheet after all, but I think Jags is only starting until injuries clear out for Capello.
Louis Saha - It was extremely depressing to watch this match on so many levels. France looked awfully similar to Everton. They dominated the midfield and possession, but just couldn't get the ball into the net. Belarus ended up scoring in the 86th minute during a counterattack. What was even more disappointing was Saha. Saha was substituted in during the 69th minute and lasted only 10 minutes before injuring his right knee. He was substituted out immediately, but it was really hard to watch his disappointment. You could really see his pain, this was one of his last chances to play and impress for France's national team. It's sad to see players like Nicolas Anelka (actually everyone on France's 2010 World Cup Squad) take playing for the national team for granted, but genuine players like Saha are so unfortunate. It was really sad to watch it, but hopefully Saha will bounce back to play for his country.
- Tim Cahill - Cahill took part when Australia played in a friendly against Switzerland. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. Cahill teamed up with Middlesbrough's Scott McDonald for a two-man striker partnership, but the Socceroos just couldn't find the net.
- Seamus Coleman took part in the the Republic of Ireland U-21's 1-0 defeat in Switzerland [Everton FC]
- Joao Silva took part with a late appearance as a substitute when Portugal's U-21 side lost to England 1-0.