This weekend brought Europe together again, two months after Euro 2012, to begin the long and arduous journey to the next international competition, the World Cup in Rio 2014.
And the opening round of fixtures saw strong performances from Holland, recovering well from their disappointment in Ukraine and Poland, and sluggish starts from Portugal and Italy.
Further afield, Argentina continued their qualification campaign with a 3-1 victory over Paragauy - Lionel Messi again on the scoresheet, while Brazil beat South Africa 1-0 thanks to a Hulk second-half strike.
So, with another round of fixtures tomorrow evening, GMF looks back at the best performers of the weekend.
The Newcastle keeper kept a clean sheet against Turkey as Holland bounced back from a disappointing Euro 2012 campaign.
A straightforward assignment for the Germany captain, but Joachim Low's team kept another clean sheet and Lahm marshalled the defence well. The Bayern Munich star is ever reliable, and his experience was useful as a young Germany team chalked up a 3-0 victory over Faroe Islands.
The Spurs centre-back was excellent as Belgium ran out comfortable 2-0 winners over Wales. The former-Ajax captain capped a strong showing with his fourth international goal.
Kompany joined his international compatriot Jan Vertonghen on the scoresheet as the so-called Belgium "golden generation" began their qualification with a victory over Chris Coleman's Wales.
A deflected free-kick gave Baines his first-ever England goal, and the Everton left-back deputised confidently for Ashley Cole. With the Chelsea fullback also set to miss the visit of Ukraine, Roy Hodgson will be happy to call on the talents of this talented Toffee.
With Mario Gotze and Marco Reus in the team, Ozil was one of the more experienced heads in the German midfield, and the Real Madrid star was excellent, bagging two second half goals as Germany beat Faroe Islands 3-0.
Diaby continued his fine form with the only goal of the game as France squeaked past Finland 1-0. Laurent Blanc's side were by no means fluent, but the Frenchman will be pleased to be able to call on an injury-free, an in-form, Abou Diaby.
The Chelsea star revealed he was close to quitting England recently, but Roy Hodgson will be glad he didn't. Lampard operated in a slightly deeper role, but still chipped in with two goals as England beat Moldova 5-0.
Argentina went top of the Conmebol qualifying race thanks to a 3-1 win over neighbours Paraguay. And Messi scored another fantastic free-kick, a few weeks after his stunner against Real Madrid in the Super Cup.
Robin van Persie
The Manchester United forward continued his excellent start to the season, with Holland's first goal in their 2-0 win over Turkey. Van Persie led the line for the Dutch, with Arjen Robben and Luciano Narsingh on either wing, as the Louis van Gaal reign got off to the best possible start.
The Manchester City striker hit a hat-trick as Bosnia stuffed Liechtenstein 8-1, as did his forward partner Vedad Ibisevic. City boss Roberto Mancini will be relieved, as Mario Balotelli is likely to miss the next month through injury, so a fully functioning Dzeko will be key for the Premier League champions
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