Sunday’s round of internationals brought about some great storylines.
Lionel Messi became the third-highest scorer in the history of men’s international football, Cristiano Ronaldo extended his run as the highest scorer in that regard, and Wales and Ukraine met to determine Europe’s final participant at the 2022 World Cup.
Here’s a rundown of the best of Sunday’s action.
Wales became the 30th team to book their spot at the 2022 World Cup after a tense 1-0 win at home to Ukraine in the UEFA play-offs.
Gareth Bale’s first-half free-kick was nodded in by visiting captain Andriy Yarmolenko, before the lanky winger was denied a stonewall penalty at the other end.
Ukraine pushed hard for an equaliser but were met with an inspired defensive display from the hosts, who had goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and defender Ben Davies largely to thank for remaining ahead.
Substitute Brennan Johnson crashed a half-volley against the post before Bale missed from point-blank range, but the Dragons weren’t made to rue these missed chances and clung on to qualify for their first World Cup since 1958.
Spain just about secured a 2-2 draw with Czech Republic in UEFA Nations League Group A2 on Sunday night.
Luis Enrique’s charges were far from their best and defended poorly throughout, but a last-gasp Inigo Martinez header saw them salvage a draw in the final minute of normal time.
Czech Republic got off to the perfect start when they cut Spain apart with a free-flowing move that was finished by Jakub Pesek from close range.
It seemed like the visitors would be heading into the dressing room 1-0 down, but Gavi had different ideas. In the third minute of first-half stoppage time the Barcelona wonderkid controlled Rodri’s pass before bending an effort into the bottom-left corner.
After Spain missed a pair of great chances, the home side restored their lead just after the hour mark. Jan Kuchta was the scorer, darting behind the sloppy Spain and lobbing Unai Simon sumptuously.
However, Spain would avoid the embarrassment of defeat to a team sitting 26 spots lower than them in the FIFA rankings with Martinez rising high to nod home substitute Marco Asensio’s cross at the back post.
Portugal bounced back well from their stuttering draw with Spain earlier this week with an emphatic 4-0 win against Switzerland in Lisbon.
The Rossocrociati thought they had taken an early lead against the run of play after Haris Seferovic scrambled home from a corner, only for VAR to confirm that he was in an offside position.
The hosts made them pay minutes later when William Carvalho tapped in after Gregor Kobel parried Cristiano Ronaldo’s free-kick.
And the Man Utd legend didn’t have to wait too long to find the back of the net after being selflessly teed up by Diogo Jota to fire in the Selecao’s second of the evening.
Ronaldo secured his brace a couple of minutes later, pouncing on Kobel’s save from Jota to notch his 117th goal in international football.
Man City’s Joao Cancelo added a fourth just after the hour mark by latching onto club-mate Bernardo Silva’s pass and making the most of another error from Kobel, who completely missed his clearance and allowed the full-back a free sight at goal.
Argentina followed up their resounding Finalissima win against Italy with a ruthless 5-0 demolition of Estonia, with Messi scoring all five.
The forward’s first of the day came after just eight minutes goalkeeper Matvei Igonen clattered into German Pezzella, and the PSG man made no mistake from the spot.
Messi grabbed the second on the stroke of half-time when he picked out the top corner following Papu Gomez’s wonderful through ball, and hd had his hat-trick just after the interval when he beat Tottenham defender Maksim Paskotsi to Nahuel Molina’s cross.
His fourth came when Estonia were caught dawdling after Gomez went down after a heavy challenge, sitting Igonen and onrushing defender Karol Mets on their backsides and calmly tapping in.
Messi rounded off the scoring with a quarter of an hour remaining after Nico Gonzalez, Paulo Dybala and Julian Alvarez failed to convert from his initial cross, waltzing into the area and finishing it himself.