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Goal.com takes a look at some of the key talking points after a busy night of international football on Friday which saw Germany, Spain and Netherlands all record convincing wins

ANALYSIS

Europe's big guns are all looking likely to continue their journey to Brazil 2014 in fine form, with Germany, Netherlands and Spain all recording convincing wins on Friday, while Argentina got some revenge over Uruguay for their 2011 Copa America exit with a resounding 3-0 win over their neighbours.

And although the victories were fairly straightforward, there are lessons to be learned for fans and coaches alike. And, as ever, Goal.com is here to assess the critical points.

Pedro points the way forward


Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Writer

Spain started with a midfielder in defence (Sergio Busquets) and a midfielder in attack (Cesc Fabregas), with David Silva, and later Andres Iniesta, also in advance roles. But Pedro showed the value of a true forward as he hit a superb hat-trick in Minsk.

The Tenerife-born attacker produced an electric performance and added Spain's second, third and fourth strikes in the 4-0 win after assisting Jordi Alba with a brilliant backheel to put the visitors in front after 12 minutes.

Pedro's intelligent running saw him take up a number of goalscoring positions and he constantly caused problems for the Belarus back line. Having provided the first, he latched onto a Silva pass, took a touch and chipped Sergei Veremko for 2-0, before running onto a Xavi ball in the second half and lobbing the keeper and finally completing the rout after 71 minutes by clipping the ball into the net and then slotted home following a square pass from Fabregas.

On this form, surely he has to start against France on Tuesday.

Left-wing spot belongs to Reus


Enis Koylu | German Football Writer

It is likely that everyone, Giovanni Trapattoni included, was expecting Germany to cruise past Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Friday, but the consummate ease with which they did so was shocking.

In truth, the visitors did not find things all that easy in the opening 30 minutes, with the hosts digging deep, but then Marco Reus began to stamp his mark. The Borussia Dortmund star, currently the form player of the Bundesliga, should have won a penalty after a clumsy tackle from John O'Shea, but refused to let the subsequent yellow card for simulation get to him.

Soon enough, he had scored two brilliant goals, and Joachim Low's side were cruising to their third win in as many World Cup qualifiers.

With Lukas Podolski badly out of form at international level and Andre Schurrle failing to hit the heights in his last few appearances, there can be no doubting that the former Gladbach man's left-wing spot is his own to lose at this point.

Sabella's side are looking pretty good


Rupert Fryer | South American Football Expert

For all the criticism he’s received in the local press, you can’t argue with the results. The decision to make Sergio Aguero first choice has been inspired, mostly to Lionel Messi – the partnership between the two is looking as good as any he’s forged at Barcelona.

Sabella spoke this week about the desire to stop the opposing full-backs and win possession back higher up the pitch; Uruguay’s defenders offered very little in regards to an attacking threat, but regardless, the back-four looked comfortable throughout, with the Fernandez-Garay partnership improving with every game.

There is still some work to do if they are to achieve the sort of pressing their coach is looking for, but overall he will be delighted with his side’s second half showing, particularly with the movement and interplay of Aguero, Messi and Angel Di Maria.

Lens is Oranje's man to watch


Stefan Coerts | Dutch Football Expert

After a string of impressive performances at club level, Jeremain Lens was on top of his game for the national team as well on Friday.

The PSV attacker might have failed to find the net against Andorra, but he was arguably Netherlands’ main attacking threat at De Kuip, beating his direct opponent time and time again. After putting in a man-of-the-match performance against Hungary last month, he gave two assists this time around to help Oranje maintain their perfect record.

With Arjen Robben still sidelined due to injury, Louis van Gaal will be hopeful Lens can replicate his fine form in Tuesday’s qualifier against Romania.

Uruguay suffering from Olympic hangover


Rupert Fryer | South American Football Expert

They show no sign of recovering from a disastrous Olympic campaign that was supposed to be a triumphant integration of a handful of new faces to an ageing side.

Oscar Tabarez was without Alvaro Pereira, meaning Edinson Cavani had to shift to the left, and Diego Perez was also missed, but after a dogged first-half display akin to that we saw in last year’s Copa America quarter-final, his side fell apart after the break, and La Celeste are now without a win in four since returning from the Olympics.

They face an extremely tricky trip to the dizzy heights of La Paz next week to face Bolivia, which will prove a real test of their mettle. Victory could be the springboard on which they pull their qualifying campaign back together, but defeat could leave them at the point of crisis.

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