Our international break coverage continues with this look back at the four UEFA Nations League matches contested on Thursday that involved Premier League players, as well as some under-21 action to boot.
We summarise the minutes played, goals, assists and injury news concerning Fantasy Premier League assets, with further round-ups to come over the weekend.
Belgium 2-0 Iceland
- Toby Alderweireld (£5.9m) – 90 minutes
- Vincent Kompany (£5.2m) – 84 minutes
- Eden Hazard (£11.3m) – 75 minutes
- Christian Kabasele (£4.5m) – 0 minutes
- Leander Dendoncker (£4.3m) – 0 minutes
- Simon Mignolet (£4.8m) – 0 minutes
- Romelu Lukaku (£10.7m) – 0 minutes
- Aron Gunnarsson (£4.4m) – 90 minutes
Romelu Lukaku missed Belgium’s UEFA Nations League win over Iceland on Thursday evening but the out-of-form Manchester United forward wasn’t ruled out of Sunday’s encounter with Switzerland, despite a small flare-up of his hamstring problem.
Lukaku’s national team boss, Roberto Martinez, said on Wednesday:
Romelu will train today with the group. He’s had a very positive reaction so we’ll take it day by day, see how he feels and we’ll take it [him playing] into consideration.
In Lukaku’s absence, Eden Hazard was predictably at the heart of much of what Belgium did well.
The Chelsea midfielder, playing as part of a front three with Dries Mertens and Michy Batshuayi, roamed and probed as Belgium tried to break Iceland down, and it was Hazard’s first-rate pass that led to the Red Devils’ opening goal on 65 minutes – Thomas Meunier collecting Hazard’s curling through-ball and squaring for Batshuayi to tap in.
Hazard had four shots on goal overall, three of which were blocked, and made two key passes aside from his role in that goal.
Chelsea’s talisman was withdrawn on 75 minutes and seems set to feature again on Sunday, with the match against the Swiss deciding which of the two nations wins their UEFA Nations League group and progresses to the semi-finals.
Vincent Kompany and Toby Alderweireld had a fairly quiet night at centre-half, with Iceland – captained by Cardiff City’s Aron Gunnarsson and without the injured Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.5m) – not registering a shot on target until the 76th minute.
Christian Kabasele, Simon Mignolet and Leander Dendoncker all watched the match from the bench.
Croatia 3-2 Spain
- Dejan Lovren (£4.9m) – 90 minutes
- Mateo Kovacic (£5.9m) – 0 minutes
- David de Gea (£5.8m) – 90 minutes
- Alvaro Morata (£8.7m) – 26 minutes
- Kepa Arrizabalaga (£5.5m) – 0 minutes
- Cesar Azpilicueta (£6.3m) – 0 minutes
- Jonny (£4.5m) – 0 minutes
With the Chelsea trio of Marcos Alonso (£7.1m), Pedro (£6.3m) and Cesc Fabregas (£6.3m) not involved in the Spanish squad and their club colleagues Mateo Kovacic, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Cesar Azpilicueta all unused substitutes alongside Wolves’ Jonny, Fantasy interest was limited in this five-goal Nations League clash in Zagreb.
David de Gea was left exposed by his defence for all three of Croatia’s goals though maybe a touch critical of himself for the hosts’ winner, with his parry from a Josip Brekalo shot falling straight into the path of goalscorer Tin Jedvaj.
The Manchester United goalkeeper has kept just one Premier League clean sheet this season and there is little incentive to warrant investment in him and the Red Devils’ backline, despite their decent forthcoming run of fixtures that includes matches against Crystal Palace, Southampton, Fulham, Cardiff, Huddersfield and Newcastle in the next nine Gameweeks.
Credit where it’s due, though – de Gea did do well to tip Andrej Kramaric’s low first-half shot onto the post to keep the game goalless.
All five of the game’s goals arrived after half-time and Dejan Lovren was part of the Croatian defence that shipped two of those strikes to Spain.
Croatia now face England in a winner-takes-all match (Spain progress if it’s a draw) on Sunday, while there may be a sea of changes for Luis Enrique’s troops on the same day as they face Bosnia and Herzegovina in a friendly.
Austria 0-0 Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Marko Arnautovic (£7.1m) – 90 minutes
There was no rest for Marko Arnautovic as the West Ham forward played the full 90 minutes of Austria’s disappointing goalless draw with Bosnia and Herzegovina on Thursday, which ended the hosts’ chances of topping their Nations League group.
With relegation not a possibility for Austria either, Sunday’s clash with Northern Ireland is something of a dead rubber and it remains to be seen if Arnautovic’s national team will manage his minutes accordingly given the knee issue that has plagued the former Stoke City forward this season.
Arnautovic had one of Austria’s two shots on target in a dour match in Vienna, also registering two other attempts on goal – including one effort blazed over in stoppage time – as the spearhead of the hosts’ attack.
Asmir Begovic (£4.5m) wasn’t included in the Bosnian squad as he is currently recovering from a thumb injury.
Italy under-21s 1-2 England under-21s
- Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.2m) – 90 minutes
- Lewis Cook (£4.8m) – 90 minutes
- Tom Davies (£5.2m) – 90 minutes
- Demarai Gray (£5.4m) – 63 minutes
- Phil Foden (£4.6m) – 69 minutes
- Ryan Sessegnon (£6.0m)- 69 minutes
- Dominic Solanke (£4.7m) – 63 minutes
- Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£5.3m) – 27 minutes
- Kieran Dowell (£4.5m) – 21 minutes
- Angus Gunn (£4.3m) – 0 minutes
- Ademola Lookman (£5.1m) – 0 minutes
Dominic Solanke scored twice as England’s under-21 side made it 17 games without defeat.
Ryan Sessegnon, playing on the left of a front three alongside Solanke and Demarai Gray, assisted one of the Liverpool striker’s two goals with a cross.
Sessegnon was the most-owned FPL asset on show, sitting in 2.5% of squads, and will be playing under a new manager in Claudio Ranieri when Southampton visit Craven Cottage on Saturday.
Ademola Lookman wasn’t included in the match-day squad despite having been called up for international duty, while manager Aidy Bothroyd was without the injured Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£4.2m) because of a shoulder problem.
Greece 1-0 Finland
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos (£5.1m) – 90 minutes
Arsenal’s Greek centre-back, without a Premier League appearance since Gameweek 6, played the full 90 minutes and kept a clean sheet as his country defeated Finland on Thursday night.
Sokratis had a fairly quiet evening as the Finns didn’t register a single shot on target, though the margin of Greece’s victory wasn’t sufficient to keep alive their hopes of promotion to League B and a shot at Euro 2020 qualification via the Nations League play-off route.
France under-21s 2-2 Croatia under-21s
- Issa Diop (£4.3m) – 90 minutes
West Ham’s budget defender got his first international action of the year as the French under-21 side drew 2-2 with their Croatian counterparts in Beauvais.
The Hammers sit top of our Season Ticker for defence until Gameweek 21 and Diop represents the joint-cheapest route into their defence, having started the last ten league matches in a row.
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