International Team of the Week: Chile & Portugal Stars on Show
Welcome to the international edition of our Team of the Week here at B/R.
With the African representation decided, Uruguay and Mexico having one foot in the World Cup door and the European play-offs in full swing, who made the cut?
Take a look and find out who joins Alexis Sanchez in this week's elite!
GK: Hannes Thor Halldorsson, Iceland
Iceland still have a shot at qualifying for the FIFA World Cup for the first time thanks to an amazing performance from Hannes Thor Halldorsson on Friday.
He saved a penalty and pulled off a string of other stops to keep Croatia at bay, and now the Northern European side will travel to Zagreb with hopes of pulling off the unthinkable.
RB: Maximiliano Pereira, Uruguay
Maximiliano Pereira opened the scoring for Uruguay in a tense first half against Jordan.
His goal, tapped in from five yards after a marauding run forward, set the tone for the rest of the match, in which La Celeste would patiently wait for the opportunities while defending stoutly.
Pereira excelled at both ends.
CB: Federico Fernandez & Ezequiel Garay, Argentina
Argentina struggled to a 0-0 draw against Ecuador, and without Lionel Messi they looked a little lost offensively.
Alejandro Sabella's troops have found a way to unlock his genius on the national stage, but they had to rely on a stellar defensive pairing of Federico Fernandez and Ezequiel Garay to shut out their dominant opponents.
Fernandez, in particular, was fantastic.
LB: Fabio Coentrao, Portugal
Portugal squeezed themselves into a marginal lead during the first leg of their FIFA World Cup qualifier, beating Sweden 1-0 at home.
Keeping a clean sheet on home soil is crucial in games such as these, and Fabio Coentrao's excellent performance on the left flank was a big factor in Paulo Bento's successful night.
DM: Jean Makoun, Cameroon
Jean Makoun was magnificent in Cameroon's dominant display against Tunisia, controlling the midfield with ease.
His tempo-setting passing set the Indomitable Lions on their way to a relatively comfortable night's work, and he capped his performance with two goals.
It was the Makoun of Lyon we saw on Sunday.
CM: Marcelo Diaz, Chile
Marcelo Diaz will have found himself a few high-profile suitors after the masterclass he put on at Wembley.
The Basel midfielder ran the show, as usual, for Jorge Sampaoli's side, and England were unable to deal with his brilliance both in tempo-setting and in initiating quick counterattacks.
Diaz is just one of many former La U players thriving on the international stage under their old boss.
CM: Joao Moutinho, Portugal
When Cristiano Ronaldo is having a bad game, Portugal look elsewhere for inspiration.
Joao Moutinho stepped into a leader's role on a night when Paulo Bento's men had to win, and he put in an extremely strong showing.
Ronaldo may have scored the goal and taken the adulation, but don't underestimate the shift his teammate put in.
Wing: Eugene Konoplyanka, Ukraine
Mathieu Debuchy is a form player in the Premier League, and due to that, he was rewarded with the job of keeping Eugene Konoplyanka quiet this weekend.
He failed. Miserably.
Ukraine are strong on the wings and use them regularly, and Konoplyanka largely had his way with a bewildered Debuchy.
Wing: Shinji Kagawa, Japan
As far as second-half substitutes go, Shinji Kagawa is the pick of the bunch this weekend.
He changed the game upon entering Japan's 2-2 draw with the Netherlands, giving the Oranje back line fits with silky movement and skill.
His interchanging with Keisuke Honda created overloads in spades.
Fwd: Alexis Sanchez, Chile
Chile's win at Wembley was the Alexis Sanchez show, as the in-form forward tore England apart on the way to a game-winning brace.
He's Barcelona's second-top scorer this season for a reason. He displayed incredible skill, raw pace and deadly finishing—along with a little opportunism—in defeating Frank Lampard and Co.
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