Featuring regional clásicos, stunning fightbacks, teams reaching the next phase and virtuoso displays from players the world over, the latest 2014 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying double-header had many a tale to tell. We took to Twitter to find out how some of the biggest names on Planet Football viewed the latest twists and turns on the road to Brazil.
“France vs Spain. None of the Spanish guys are singing their anthem, not that it stops them being the best. Go for it lads!” French striker Louis Saha (@louissaha08) as kick-off time to the European Zone Group I crunch clash drew closer.
“@louissaha08 that’s normal bro, their anthem doesn’t have any words!!! LOL,” FC Rostov’s French attacker Florent Sinama-Pongolle (@sinamapongolle4), who spent several seasons in La Liga, sets Saha straight.
“For once I won’t be cheering for Iker Casillas!! But after this game I’d be pleased to see him win the Ballon d’Or, he deserves it,” Le Mans keeper Jeremie Janot (@jeremiejanot).
“Be realistic, ask the impossible!” France midfielder Blaise Matuidi (@MATUIDIBlaise), prior to the game against Spain.
“I am as proud to wear the Portugal jersey for the 100th time as I was the first time,”Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano), who reached this landmark figure in the draw with Northern Ireland.
“Did I say 5 - 0 England.....errrr, yes! Love it lads! Congrats to Wales winning their 1st game under Chris Coleman + @AshWills84 as captain!” Veteran England defender Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5), after the Three Lions’ win over San Marino at Wembley.
“Huge fan of Baines and I love how unselfish Welbeck is. Decent performance, no more than that. Game on Tuesday is a big one,” former England striker Michael Owen (@themichaelowen) who, like Ferdinand, is very active on Twitter, gives his verdict on the San Marino win.
“This German team is different class. Can't remember the last time Ireland got thrashed on their own patch,” Owen again, proving our point.
“@LAMBREMONTPY: @VincentKompany It’s my birthday today. I only want one present: the win. COME ON BELGIUM!!! " - Happy Birthday :-)” Belgium captain and centre-backVincent Kompany (@VincentKompany), makes a birthday wish ahead of the clash with Serbia.
“Proud of my team, proud of our fans, proud of our country. Together we can achieve anything. #Belgium,” Kompany underlines his flair for leadership, on the back of scoring a fine goal in the victory over Scotland.
#NigeldeJong played yesterday a great game for Holland. Now take Milan by the hand and go for the Scudetto...” Former AC Milan and the Netherlands legend Ruud Gullit (@GullitR), throws his support behind the combative Dutch midfielder.
“Congratulations to my friend @Pedro17 for his three goals today and to @andresiniesta8 for his 75th cap. You guys deserve it!!!” David Silva (@21LVA), underlines the mutual respect between the members of the Spain squad, when hailing his team-mates’ feats in the victory over Belarus.
“Nice match today in Belarus, great work by the team and especially Pedro! Looking forward to the next match against France!” Spain and Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas (@cesc4official) continues the swift exchange of compliments.
“Great win in my 75th game for La Selección!! Congrats to Pedro on his hat-trick!” Andres Iniesta (@andresiniesta8) rounds off the tiki-taka of La Roja stars.
“I'm glad we fulfilled our goal - get the full 6 points in these two matches. We achieved that in the best way possible,” Argentina striker Sergio Aguero (@aguerosergiokun), savouring the moment after La Albiceleste’s back-to-back wins over Uruguay and Chile.
“Great win. Today’s was a team display, and I’m happy with that. Laters!!!” Argentina’s midfield general Javier Mascherano (@Mascherano), highlights the increasing solidity of Alejandro Sabella’s La Albiceleste, after the win in Santiago.
“How they roar, the fans in the Metropolitano [stadium] and in Colombia as a whole!! Thanks be to God for this success, the glory’s all yours!” Los Cafeteros’ red-hot goal-getter Radamel Falcao (@FALCAO), scorer of a brace in his country’s win over Paraguay. Mere days later he was in the stands of Atletico de Madrid’s Vicente Calderon stadium to watch Spain-France.
“The idea is to win your home games but there’s a real football saying that says ‘if you can’t win at least try not to lose’. There’s a long way to go left! And we’re still picking up points*,” Venezuela defender and key man Oswaldo Vizcarrondo (@vizcarrondo4), after *La Vinotinto moved up to fifth in South American Zone qualifying after the home draw with Ecuador. **
“A vital 3 points, well deserved but what an emotional way to do it. Great spirit lads, it's in our hands!” Australia captain Lucas Neill (@LucasNeill|), both proud and relieved after the Socceroos 2-1 comeback win over Iraq.
“Good luck boys. 3 points. We will all be watching. #USAvGUA,” Abby Wambach (@AbbyWambach), lethal goal-getter for the US women’s side, gets behind her counterparts in the men’s set-up.
“On to the Hex! Congrats to the #USMNT on a job very well done. Great and fun game to watch. Keep it going! #USA #USA #USA,” American striker Jozy Altidore (@JozyAltidore), after the USA’s victory over Guatemala which guaranteed their berth in the region’s final six-team hexagonal qualifying round.
“Watching world cup qualifiers makes me excited for #brazil2014,” Wambach’s Stars and Stripes strike partner Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13), just can’t get enough of the beautiful game.