During the international break this March, France played three world cup qualifying matches: Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In three matches, Les Bleus managed to score four goals. All of these goals came from Barcelona players, apart from one own goal against Kazakhstan. It seems that the Blaugrana players have carried their hot club form into their national teams as well; Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembélé netted two and one goals respectively.
The first goal came from an Antoine Griezmann special. The French striker received the ball at the corner of the eighteen-yard-box off a loose ball. He then took control of it, making a swift turn to evade the defender. Having created a second of space, the World Cup winner struck the ball with curved perfection; his shot evaded every single defender in its path as well as the goalkeeper, curling into the top corner with no chance of being saved.
Then came Dembélé’s turn against Kazakhstan. The French winger was picked out on the end of a coursing through ball provided by fellow Frenchman Anthony Martial. Dembélé took one touch forward and — without much thought — smashed the ball into the bottom left corner in a peach of a low drive. The Frenchman enjoyed a wonderful return to action for his country after having suffered a troubled past three years, strife with injury.
Le Petit Prince struck lightning once again, this time against his fellow teammate Miralem Pjanic’s country, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Griezmann was floating in the eighteen-yard-box, when a beautifully curved cross found its way to the striker. The Number 7 headed the ball to perfection, leaving the keeper no chance.
While the Griezmann and Dembélé shined for France in the international break, other Barca players excelled in their respective countries as well. Sergiñho Dest scored a spectacular golazo with the USMNT, and both Braithwaite and Pjanic netted a goal each for their countries. More notably, Jordi Alba and Pedri enjoyed a spectacular set of games for Spain, registering a combined four assists. Pedri, in specific, looked unbelievably comfortable in Spain starting eleven and has surely convinced Luis Enrique to make him a permanent starter.
One can only hope that this international break has served more to boost the confidence of the Barca players — who have all performed wonderfully with their countries — rather than disrupt the team’s rhythm. It is well known that the Blaugrana struggle to come to form right after an international break; however, Ronald Koeman will surely take note of this and try his best to keep the team fresh for the upcoming El Classico.