After a long international winter break, the Russia 2018 participants were not the only countries to come out of hibernation. Slovenia, still sleeping, slumped to a 2-0 defeat at home to Belarus and sank the most in the football rankings while 9-man Bolivia lost 1-0 at 10-man Curacao with the 2 teams drawing 1-1 a few days earlier. Antigua & Barbuda drew 1-1 in Jamaica while Nigeria were 1-0 winners away to Poland and Kosovo defeated Burkina Faso 2-0 in France. Kazakhstan humiliated Hungary 3-2 in Budapest while Latvia fell 1-0 in Gibraltar and Iceland lost 3-0 to Mexico with Miguel Layun netting twice in Santa Clara, USA. The Netherlands swept Portugal aside with 3 first-half goals in Switzerland and Norway thrashed their visitors from Australian 4-1 with a hat-trick from Ola Kamara and Gareth Bale netted a hat-trick to become Wales’ all-time leading goal scorer as Wales smashed China 6-0 in the China Cup. Chile scored late to win 2-1 in Sweden while Scotland lost 1-0 at home to Croatia and Gabon beat the UAE 1-0 in Thailand.
In the Asian Cup qualifiers Myanmar, who were thrashed 5-1 by Kyrgyzstan in South Korea, could only manage a single goal at home to lowly Macau while Malaysia, who had earlier drawn a friendly match 2-2 at home to Mongolia, lost a qualifier 2-1 away to Lebanon and Vietnam achieved a 1-1 draw in Jordan while the Maldives battered Bhutan 7-0 in Malé.