International

Kante, Giroud and Kovacic among the Chelsea players involved at international level

N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud both earned caps as France’s defence of the World Cup began with a draw against Ukraine in their opening 2022 qualifying group game.

Kante featured for the entire game, which ended 1-1 after Antoine Griezmann’s opener was cancelled out by a Presnel Kimpembe own goal, while Giroud came through just over an hour before being substituted in Paris.

Kurt Zouma remained on the bench throughout this World Cup qualifier, but will hope to feature for Les Bleus against either Kazakhstan (Sunday) or Bosnia and Herzegovina (Wednesday). Both of those fixtures are away from home.

Mateo Kovacic couldn’t help Croatia get their qualification campaign off to a positive start, with the Chelsea midfielder part of the side defeated 1-0 away to Slovenia.

Kovacic was replaced by former Blues man Mario Pasalic with seven minutes left on the clock. Croatia reached the final of the last World Cup and will be hoping to pick up points in consecutive home games against Cyprus and Malta.

Ethan Ampadu, currently on loan at Sheffield United, played the whole game as Wales squandered an early lead away at Belgium, losing 3-1 to the Red Devils.

Harry Wilson fired Wales in front after 10 minutes before former Chelsea midfielders Kevin De Bruyne and Thorgan Hazard turned the game on its head.

Another former Blues player, Romelu Lukaku, wrapped the game up for the hosts from the penalty spot with just over 15 minutes remaining. Michy Batshuayi was an unused substitute for Roberto Martinez’s Belgian side.

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