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The Weekly Rojiblanco: Nations League and Papa Costa

The roundup returns during a busy international break.

England v Spain - UEFA Nations League A Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Top Story: Saúl scores in Spain’s win

New Spain coach Luis Enrique — unlike old Spain coach Fernando Hierro — seems to believe (correctly) that Atlético Madrid midfielder Saúl Ñíguez is #actually elite, and the 23-year-old repaid the boss’s faith with an equalizing goal in Saturday’s 2-1 over England at Wembley. The match was the opening salvo for both teams in the first-ever UEFA Nations League.

In addition to his first Spain goal, Saúl took 83 touches, completed 83 percent of his passes and was fouled thrice — in part because the national team’s system freed him from defensive responsibilities. You best believe there’s more to come from the Atlético star, as Luis Enrique plans to make him an integral part of the side.

Griezmann and France fail to inspire

The world champions kicked off their Nations League action with a dour 0-0 draw against Germany on Thursday, in which Antoine Griezmann played 80 minutes, Lucas Hernández played 90 and Thomas Lemar played zero. On Sunday, les Bleus took the lead over the Netherlands but Ryan Babel — Ryan Babel! — brought the Oranje level on 67 minutes. France ended up with the victory though, as Olivier Giroud scored an excellent volley in the 75th minute to secure the 2-1 win.

Griezmann was booked and lifted for Steven N’Zonzi in the 81st minute, while Benjamin Mendy replaced Lucas just after the hour and Lemar saw no time.

Other international results

Lucas: Griezmann deserves Ballon d’Or

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