INTERNATIONALS: BLUES' BELGIANS ON TOP
Charleroi in Belgium saw the most Chelsea players in action during Friday night's World Cup qualifiers and it was the home side who came out on top - Kevin De Bruyne netting the first goal in a 2-1 win over Serbia.
The 21-year-old scored a close-range header after 13 minutes which was added to by Everton's Marouane Fellaini, with another header from a De Bruyne cross in the second-half before Serbia, skippered by Branislav Ivanovic, pulled one back three minutes from time.
Thibaut Courtois was between the posts for Belgium with Eden Hazard brought on after 64 minutes and Romelu Lukaku replacing De Bruyne with eight minutes left on the clock.
Belgium are well positioned to make the finals Brazil. They are guaranteed at least second place in their qualification group and are three points clear at the top after seven out of 10 games. The group winners automatically qualify with the eight best runners-up out of nine European groups going into play-offs.
It is not looking good for the Serbians who trail second-place Croatia by nine points with three to play, despite Croatia losing at home to Scotland on Friday evening.
Petr Cech added another to his long list of clean sheets as Czech Republic were held at home by Italy. Gianluigi Buffon was the busier keeper and the Czechs hit the post but the Italians, who had Mario Balotelli sent off midway through the second half, survived for a goalless draw and a four-point lead at the top of their group with four games to play.
Tomas Kalas was an used sub for Czech Republic who are five points off the top in third, one point behind second-place Bulgaria.
At Under-19 level, there was a shock defeat for the Netherlands against Cyrus in their second match in a European Championship qualification tournament in Norway.
Nathan Ake played the whole of a 1-0 defeat but with the Dutch having beaten the host nation in their opener, all four teams now have three points with the Chelsea youngster and his team-mates to play Germany on Monday.