This article originally appeared on VICE Sports UK.
With the international break now well and truly upon us, time seems to have slowed to an impossible degree. Outside, leaves take hours to fall to the ground, traffic moves past like lukewarm treacle, and each second is like a condensed aeon, the existence of man being eclipsed in the blink of an eye. The sky is overcast, the world is grey, and all things have succumbed to the interminable tedium of World Cup qualifiers.
Were it not for these beautiful goals, we'd have probably surrendered to the sweet embrace of death at this point. Thankfully, every cloud has a silver lining, even the godforsaken international break.
THE FOND FAREWELL
Of all the legends of international football, Robbie Keane is one of the greatest. Sure, the Republic of Ireland aren't exactly the mightiest footballing nations, but Keane in his pomp could single-handedly spur them on. He's made 168 appearances in green since his debut in 1998, appearing in a World Cup and two European Championships. He has scored 68 international goals in total, the same number as Gerd Müller.
The last of those came on Wednesday evening, against Oman. That was a fitting way to mark his retirement, and his final appearance in an Ireland shirt.
Not only did Keane score in his last ever match for the Boys in Green, he produced a truly stylish finish. Having latched onto a flick from Jon Walters, he flicked the ball over two converging defenders before waiting for it to drop and volleying it low into the back of the net. He basked in the outpouring of appreciation from the stands, somersaulting and pumping his fists before his teammates embraced him. Not a bad way to bow out, all told.
THE BRAZILIAN BELTER
While Robbie was celebrating his final goal for his country, another player's international career was just about to begin. On Thursday evening, at the Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa, Gabriel Jesus scored a magnificent brace. While he got his first goal with a clever backheel, the young Brazilian had something better in store. He rounded off a 3-0 victory over Ecuador with a belting finish from the edge of the box, turning on his heel before firing a curling shot past the keeper. Gol-gol-gol!
That was all on his international debut, mind. Continue like that, and he could have quite some career ahead of him.
THE FRENCH FANCY
With the era of Jose Mourinho well underway at Manchester United, the pressure is on for the club's young stars. Mourinho protests that he's a kind, supportive, avuncular figure when it comes to potential talents, but the truth is he's about as conducive to nurturing youngsters as Stephen King's IT.
As such, it's good to see Anthony Martial impressing on international duty with France. While his finish here is, dare we say it, Thierry-esque, his movement to lose Italy's defence is equally impressive. Oh, and note the assist from Paul Pogba. United could be quite good this season, one feels.