Let's start with England, shall we? That's where Manchester is, after all. Though injury and squad purging meant that only one United player made Roy Hodgson's squad for the games against San Marino and Estonia, Wayne Rooney took advantage of the relatively soft opposition to add two more goals to his overall tally. England's brave and glorious captain now has 43 goals, though the record books won't note that his performance against Estonia was, free-kick aside, very much of the latter-day United what the hell are you doing? variety. Still, two wins is two wins, six points is six points.
Elsewhere, Spain lost their first qualifying game since the dawn of the Bronze Age, and in response dropped Iker Casillas. Just a year or so late there, Senor Del Bosque. Excitingly, his replacement for the next game — a 4-0 win over Luxembourg — was a certain David de Gea, currently of Old Trafford. Expect him to win 150 caps between the Spanish posts. Although it's not all good news: like flatulence follows beans, so rumours of a move to Real Madrid surfaced shortly afterwards. Somebody get this man a new contract immediately.
To Argentina. Well, no, to Beijing and Hong Kong, where the forces of latter-day sporting capitalism dragged Angel di Maria and Marcos Rojo. The Argentines both played in a 2-0 loss against Brazil, then Di Maria came on as a substitute for a 7-0 win against Hong Kong, while Rojo spent the entire of that match resting his limbs on the bench. Which is good.
Also promising was the return to the international stage of Radamel Falcao. Colombia beat El Salvador (3-0) and Canada (1-0), and United's No.9 scored in the first game, had one wrongly disallowed in the second, and was taken off before the 90 minute mark in both. Which is exactly how these things should go.
To the Low Countries! Marouane Fellaini, finally back fit, came on as a substitute for Belgium in a 6-0 win over Andorra, then again in a 1-1 draw with Bosnia & Herzegovina. (Adnan Januzaj was a unused substitute in both games.) Not quite such positive news for United's Dutchmen. Robin van Persie and Daley Blind played for the Netherlands in a laboured 3-1 win over Kazakhstan before going down 2-0 against Iceland. The Dutch seem to be suffering from the post-Van Gaal blues.
Finally, back to England. Luke Shaw was excellent, twice, as England U21's complete a stylish 4-2 win over their Croatian counterparts. The results sends them through to the U21 Championship to be held in the Czech Republic next summer. And Shaw is very clear that being moved to the U21s is not a demotion. Not at all. It's an opportunity.