The Barça defender returns to the national side after an absence of 14 months and helps his side to an important win in qualification for Euro 2016
The Belgian is the only victorious blaugrana with Arda Turan’s Turkey and Rakitic’s Croatia drawing
Thomas Vermaelen‘s excellent start to the season at Barça has been echoed with his form for his national side. After an absence of 14 months, the defender not only returned to the Belgian national squad but also started the match against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Roma striker Edin Dzeko put Bosnia ahead after a quarter of an hour but goals from Felliani, De Bruyne and Hazard gave Belgium a deserved 3-1 win with Vermaelen playing all 90 minute in the encounter. With the win, Belgium remain three points behind leaders Wales in Group B. Vermaelen was not the only blaugrana in action in the fixtures for qualification for Euro 2016.
Assist for Turkey but only draw for Turkey
The summer signing played his first official game since joining the blaugranes, Turan captained a Turkey side who were up against Latvia in their seventh game of the qualifying stages. Inan’s goal with an assist from the blaugrana 13 minutes from time appeared to have given the Turks a 2-1 win but an injury time equaliser from Sabala gave the Baltic team a share of the points.
Turkey missed the chance to make the most of Holland’s defeat against Iceland in Group A but they are now only a point off third place in the standings.
Draw for Rakitic
Earlier in the evening Azerbaijan took on Ivan Rakitic’s Croatia side. The game ended goalless despite the best efforts of the Balkans who are now coached by former Barça player Robert Prosinecki. Rakitic played all 90 minutes and came close to opening the scoring with an excellent free kick from the just outside the box. With the point Croatia remain top of Group H, although now they are joined on 15 points by Italy following the azzurri’s 1-0 win over Malta.
Non-international players and four from Barça’s U-18 squad train on Thursday morning
After two days training with FC Barcelona B, the first team trained Thursday without the reserves on Field 2 at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper.
But the big news was the head coach Luis Enrique was back after attending Wednesday’s UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum in Nyon, Switzerland.
WithBarça’s international players on leave with their respective national teams, four players from Barça’s Under 18 team joined in on the training session.
With league play paused for international matches, the first team will be free over the weekend. The final session of the week will be held on Friday at 10.00am CET.
Croats look to keep a handle on first place while Belgians look to regain footing and Turks hope to salvage slot
Three FC Barcelona players face qualifiers with the national teams for the UEFA Euro 2016, to be held in France next summer. But while all three players form part of the same club team, the similarities facing them this weekend end there. Barça midfielder Ivan Rakitic, defender Thomas Vermaelen, and new pickup Arda Turan all face distinct situations as their countried continue in their attempts to qualify for the big dance.
First, at 6.00pm CET, Rakitic and Croatia face Azerbaijan in Group H. Croatia lead the group with 14 points, two points ahead of Italy. Norway are still lurking in third place with 10 points, meaning the Croats need to keep the foot on the gas if they want to avoid any major complications. Rakitic co-leads the qualifying phase in assists.
Later in the evening, at 8.45pm CET, Barça centre-back Thomas Vermaelen is expected to play for his national team the first time in 14 months — he was injured in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil — when Belgium meet Bosnia and Herzegovina in Group B. Belgium are undefeated in their last 12 home qualifiers (7 wins and 5 draws) but, after losing their last qualifier at Wales, they find themselves 3 points behind the Welsh and are in second place with 11. Israel and Cyprus are knotted in third with nine points apiece. Bosnia have 8 while Andorra bring up the rear and have yet to win.
Turquia in must-win spot
Turkey and Barça’s new player Arda Turan lost their first two qualifiers and have been playing catch up ever since. The Turks have recorded eight of their last 12 possible points but still have work to do. Turkey are seven points behind leaders Iceland, five behind the Czech Republic and two back from the Netherlands.
Turkey will try to draw closer tonight at 8.45pm CET when they face Latvia, who are just two points behind the Turks. Arda cannot play with Barça until January and will try to get in some much-needed work at game speed. He has one goal in five qualifiers so far.
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The registration period over, these are the numbers that the players will be wearing in Europe this season
At midnight on August 31, the period for registering players for the 2015/16 Champions League came to a close. This means that the FC Barcelona squad and their shirt numbers are now definitive – a shirt that features two important changes to the sleeves in honour of the fact that the Catalans are the current champions of Europe. Apart from the first team players, shirt numbers have also been allocated to Barça B’s Juan Cámara and Gerard Gumbau. In a second list, there are a further four members of the reserve team: Sergi Samper, David Babunski, Alejandro Grimaldo and goalkeeper José Suárez.
This is the complete list of shirt numbers for a competition that gets under way on September 16:
1. Ter Stegen
6. Dani Alves
8. A. Iniesta
11. Neymar Jr
13. C. Bravo
18. Jordi Alba
20. Sergi Roberto
31. J. Suárez