This weekend's world cup qualifying was a relatively quiet one for Newcastle players, especially after the hubbub surrounding Steven Taylor's long-awaited call-up to the England squad. As it turns out, Taylor didn't play for the Three Lions in either of their matches.
Certain other Toon players did, though, including Yohan Cabaye, who sat for France's first match with Georgia, but played 70 minutes against Spain. Cabaye was mostly a non-factor, as the French midfield spent most of their evening chasing Spain around the park, but he did make his mark on the match when he went in with a quite silly challenge in the second half. He earned a yellow card for his efforts, and true to form, was dismissive of the referee in the aftermath. He will be suspended for France's September match against Georgia.
Meanwhile, Moussa Sissoko played as a substitute in both of France's matches, and he had an immediate impact when he came on late against Spain, forcing his way through the midfield and setting up Franck Ribery, who shot wide. He also featured in the win against Georgia. I didn't get to see that one, but comments about his performance were mostly positive. Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who was called up to the squad for the weekend, was not named as a substitute in either match. Les Bleus are firmly in second place in Group I and have an outside chance of qualifying automatically if Spain drop any points in their three remaining matches.
The CAF qualifying round featured only one match for each team on the weekend, and both of Newcastle's representatives in that competition played. Cheik Tiote started and played all 90 minutes without incident for Cote d'Ivoire, who defeated Gambia 3-0. They currently sit atop Group C by one point halfway through the stage.
That's it, as far as first teamers go. Shane Ferguson, currently on loan at Birmingham City, played 72 minutes for Northern Ireland in their loss to Israel, while several academy players played for England in the Montaigu Tournament. The most important takeaway from the weekend: Nobody was injured. You can breathe now.