Love it or hate it, an international break never fails to deliver plenty of storylines as club concerns are momentarily put to one side.
Furthermore, with Euro 2020 qualifying kicking off this time around, there was more than just national pride on the line over the past week.
From Raheem Sterling sending a message on and off the pitch to a Juventus striker other than Cristiano Ronaldo stealing the spotlight, the international break provided us with several interesting talking points...
Sterling silences haters & helps young stars shine
Any question marks surrounding Raheem Sterling's performances in a Three Lions shirt have now been answered in emphatic fashion.
Having previously struggled in a Three Lions shirt, Sterling is now donning the jersey with cool confidence and has now notched up seven goal contributions in his past four England games – as many as he had in his previous 31 appearances for the national team.
Those numbers, and his defiant celebration in Montenegro on Monday night in front of an abusive crowd, silenced any lingering doubts over his importance to this team – and indeed his nation.
Sterling is still only 24 yet has become one of England's real leaders, having already turned his attention to helping ease the transition of talented teenage duo Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi into international stars.
"He's cool, he speaks to me and Callum about what to do and what not to do and he gives us advice," Sancho said of Sterling recently.
In short, Sterling has become the role model England – and arguably football as a whole – needs right now.
Depay on fire for the Dutch
While a last-minute 3-2 loss to Germany on home soil spoiled the international break somewhat for the Dutch, Depay's performances offer them plenty of hope moving forward.
After picking up two goals and two assists in Netherlands' 4-0 win over Belarus, the 25-year-old nearly salvaged a point for the Dutch against Germany with another goal and assist.
Though the final result left Depay disappointed, he will have been delighted with what was a timely reminder of his considerable talent.
He was directly involved in six goals in just two games for his country, having participated in just five in his previous 13 outings at club level.
Depay's hot streak for the Dutch has noticeably coincided with Ronald Koeman's appointment, with the attacker boasting eight goals and five assists since the former Barcelona defender took charge last year.
"I don't do anything special with Memphis, I only give him confidence," Koeman said after the Belarus game.
"But, of course, he has a lot more freedom here than at his club. From the moment he walks in, he's having fun. That's like it should be."
Ronaldo injury a concern for profligate Portugal
Fernando Santos' side have now drawn four straight games, scoring just twice across those matches – three of which were on home soil.
Having defied the odds and an early injury to Cristiano Ronaldo in the Euro 2016 final to upset France 1-0 in Paris, Portugal again had to deal without their star man on Monday against Serbia.
Trailing 1-0 when Ronaldo was forced off in the 31st minute, they were able to salvage a 1-1 draw but lacked the cutting edge their Juventus attacker offers in abundance.
The Seleccao boasted 70 per cent of possession against Serbia but got just six of their 28 shots on target as they threw away what would have been an invaluable two points.
Indeed, Portugal presently sit third in Group B and the early indicators are that the title holders might find qualification a little tougher than expected.
Kean's emergence a blessing for the Azzurri
There is a new kid on the block! Nineteen-year-old Moise Kean scored in both of Italy's qualifiers as the Azzurri overcame Finland 2-0 and put six goals past a hapless Liechtenstein.
The Juventus striker took his chance for the national team with a clinical finish against the Finnish – underpinned by his superb movement – and showcased his goal-poaching ability with a six-yard box header versus the Liechtensteiners.
Roberto Mancini took a leap of faith in selecting Kean – who has only made two starts for the Old Lady this season, in which he scored three goals and nabbed an assist.
The significance of Kean's arrival ends a barren run of scoring for the Italians, with the Finland match the first time they have hit the back of the net twice or more since a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia in May 2018.
With Ciro Immobile failing to score in his past 10 internationals, Andrea Belotti out of favour after an inconsistent season at Torino and the 36-year-old Fabio Quagliarella their only form forward, Italy have been crying out for a new goalscoring hero to emerge.
Kean, who still has 11 months left of his teenage years, is looking like the saviour they have been praying for – and the prospect of him learning and playing alongside Ronaldo at Juventus bodes well for the future.
Spain benefiting from Morata's new lease of life
Alvaro Morata was a striker bereft of confidence during the majority of his recent spell at Chelsea, looking like a player weighed down by the £60m club-record fee paid by the Blues to prise him from Real Madrid.
But since joining Atletico on loan during the January transfer window, the centre-forward has been revitalised.
With the scoreline tied 1-1 in Spain's first EURO 2020 qualifier against Norway, Morata missed a gilt-edged header to put his nation in front, but instead of dropping his head, as he would doubtless have done at Stamford Bridge, he earned the penalty that secured the victory.
Morata took this form into La Roja's second qualifier against Malta, scoring a brace, with the first goal showing excellent touch to bring the ball down and fire under the goalkeeper's body, and the second effort a clinical header at the back post.
The quality national team performances from Morata can be traced to his recent efforts for Atletico – scoring three goals and getting an assist in his six matches since returning to his homeland.
Still only 26, Morata is entering the prime of his career and is now the outstanding candidate to lead the Spanish attack at Euro 2020.