Arguably the most imbalanced international break of the season, involving both vital World Cup play-off matches and friendlies of questionable relevance, kicks off with significant wins for Switzerland and Croatia.
But it is events off the pitch that are of more interest as injuries continue to stack up to trouble Fantasy managers.
Here are the first set of notes from the November international break.
The injuries pile up
An almost farcical spate of withdrawals is in danger of tipping England’s friendly with Germany the wrong side of meaningless tonight.
The latest member of Gareth Southgate’s increasingly beleaguered squad to pull out was Stoke City keeper Jack Butland, who broke a finger in training.
The stopper, in 3.2% of FPL teams, will be assessed by his club today ahead of a pair of attractive trips to Brighton and Crystal Palace.
More significantly, the 8.8%-owned Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen will miss Belgium’s friendly with Mexico this evening after picking up an ankle injury.
The centre-half has played every minute of Spurs’ league season so far and is our preferred route into the Spurs defence in light of compatriot Toby Alderweireld’s hamstring injury and coach Mauricio Pochettino’s consistent rotation of wing-backs.
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez was quick to play down the extent of Vertonghen’s problem.
“Jan won’t be in the team tomorrow. He is suffering a little pain in the ankle, but it isn’t serious.”
All eyes will now turn to Belgium’s second friendly of the break, against Japan on Tuesday, for the involvement, or otherwise, of Vertonghen.
Spurs travel to Arsenal for the north London derby on Saturday lunchtime.
Vertonghen’s international team-mate Michy Batshuayi will play no part in either of Belgium’s friendlies, however.
The Chelsea striker has a foot injury and has now returned to his club ahead of next weekend’s away match against West Brom.
Welcome break for Salah…
There are no such concerns for Mohammed Salah, who remains in Merseyside over these two weeks.
The Egyptian is now owned by 39.7% and they’ve been treated to a fine recent run of form in which he’s hit three goals and provided an assist over the last three Gameweeks.
As a result, he’s the most purchased player of Gameweek 12 to date, with more than 134,000 snapping him up.
Salah has been a key component of the Reds attack this season – he’s been involved in all 11 league matches, and a further six Champions League fixtures, thus far.
With Egypt’s friendly in the United Arab Emirates, scheduled for last night, postponed, Salah called to be omitted from their squad for their final World Cup Qualifier with Ghana on Sunday.
Head coach Hector Cuper duly obliged, with Salah left at home for what is a somewhat irrelevant fixture. Egypt have already secured their place at Russia 2018 – courtesy of a Salah penalty.
His owners will now look forward to seeing a well-rested Salah available for next Saturday’s Anfield clash with Southampton, an encounter which follows his season-high 15-point return against West Ham.
West Brom trio Jonny Evans, Gareth McAuley and Chris Brunt all started Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifying play-off first leg with Switzerland.
Southampton midfielder Steven Davis also played for the Ulstermen, whose chances of making it to Russia next year were dealt a major blow by a 1-0 home defeat.
Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka and Stoke midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri played the full 90 minutes for the Swiss, with the latter’s shot leading to the controversial handball decision that settled the tie from the penalty spot.
Should Northern Ireland fail to overturn the deficit, veterans McAuley and Brunt could well retire from international football to boost their Fantasy appeal.
Croatia all but booked their place in next year’s finals with a 4-1 home play-off win over Greece in which Liverpool defender
Dejan Lovren was involved throughout. Everton winger Nikola Vlasic was handed a late run-out for the Croats.
The second legs of both play-off ties take place on Sunday.
Scotland lost a home friendly with the Netherlands 1-0.
Liverpool full-back Andrew Robertson and West Brom midfielder Matt Phillips started for the Scots, while the Dutch fielded a strong Premier League contingent of Virgil van Dijk, Nathan Aké, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Daley Blind and Georginio Wijnaldum.
On-loan Crystal Palace defender Fosu-Mensah played 72 minutes, while Brighton midfielder Davy Propper missed out having picked up a “minor ankle injury”. Dutch manager Dick Advocaat expects Propper to be back in contention for a friendly against Romania in Bucharest on Tuesday.
Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser came on for the Scots after 71 minutes.
The international break actually started with two Wednesday friendlies.
Burnley midfielder Johann Berg Gudmundsson played the full match as Iceland lost 2-1 at home to the Czech Republic. Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson was an unused sub.
Meanwhile, Huddersfield striker Steve Mounie played 88 minutes for Benin in a 1-1 draw away at Congo.