Our round-up of the week’s international fixtures from a Fantasy perspective continues with a recap of Monday’s matches.
There were numerous players in action who enjoy two Premier League fixtures in Double Gameweek 32, as well as several Fantasy assets who were handed the night off.
The Scout Notes piece below details the minutes played by the various Fantasy Premier League options for their respective countries last night.
Montenegro 1-5 England
- Jordan Pickford (£4.9m) – 90 minutes
- Kyle Walker (£6.4m) – 90 minutes
- Harry Maguire (£5.4m) – 90 minutes
- Michael Keane (£4.8m) – 90 minutes
- Danny Rose (£5.8m) – 90 minutes
- Declan Rice (£4.7m) – 90 minutes
- Callum Hudson-Odoi (£4.2m) – 90 minutes
- Raheem Sterling (£11.6m) – 90 minutes
- Harry Kane (£12.5m) – 83 minutes
- Ross Barkley (£5.1m) – 82 minutes
- Dele Alli (£8.8m) – 64 minutes
- Jordan Henderson (£5.3m) – 26 minutes
- James Ward-Prowse (£5.1m) – 8 minutes
- Callum Wilson (£6.5m) – 7 minutes
- Kieran Trippier (£6.0m) – 0 minutes
- Tom Heaton (£4.8m) – 0 minutes
- Ben Chilwell (£5.0m) – 0 minutes
- James Tarkowski (£4.7m) – 0 minutes
After scoring a hat-trick and setting up another goal in England’s 5-0 win over the Czech Republic on Friday, Raheem Sterling (£11.6m) was in the thick of the action again as the Three Lions rolled over Montenegro.
Sterling set up Harry Kane (£12.5m) for England’s fourth goal on the counter-attack and then capped off his evening with a well-taken strike following a superb pass from substitute Jordan Henderson (£5.3m); Sterling’s celebration for his latest international goal apparently in response to some racial abuse from the home support directed at both he and Danny Rose (£5.8m).
Had this been a Premier League game, Sterling would likely have bagged a “Fantasy assist” for England’s third goal, too, after his deflected cross was lashed home by Ross Barkley (£5.1m).
Having played on the left flank against the Czech Republic three days before, Sterling was back over on the right side of a 4-3-3 for this latest Euro 2020 qualifier.
Sterling’s ability to rack up points from either wing is a tremendous asset going into Double Gameweek 32 and his direct running provided plenty of problems for Montenegro on Monday.
Just over 200,000 FPL managers have drafted the City winger into their squads since the Gameweek 31 deadline passed ten days ago, while his share of the vote in our Captain Poll has significantly grown over the last few days.
Kane bagged his second goal over the international break but his 71st-minute tap-in was his only shot of the match and the Spurs striker reprised his usual trick of dropping deep to link play up between midfield and attack.
Kane’s Spurs team-mate Dele Alli (£8.8m) completed his second successive 60+ minute run-out for the national side in a three-man central midfield, once again operating in a more restrained role as Barkley enjoyed the freedom to attack.
Barkley’s curling free-kick was nodded in by Michael Keane (£4.8m) to level the scores up at 1-1 before the former Everton midfielder got on the scoresheet himself with a close-range finish from a Callum Hudson-Odoi (£4.2m) shot.
Barkley’s second goal capped off a fine individual display but his Double Gameweek 32 appeal remains limited: the Chelsea asset has started back-to-back league matches on just two occasions since the beginning of November and the “job-share” with Mateo Kovacic (£5.7m) remains off-putting.
Hudson-Odoi and West Ham’s “out of position” defender Declan Rice (£4.7m) made their first England starts and completed 90 minutes, while James Ward-Prowse (£5.1m) and Callum Wilson (£6.5m) made it o
Keane, Jordan Pickford (£4.9m), Kyle Walker (£6.4m) and Harry Maguire (£5.4m) are the only England players to play all 180 minutes of their country’s opening two Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Kieran Trippier (£6.0m), Tom Heaton (£4.8m) and James Tarkowski (£4.7m) were once again unused and haven’t featured at all over the international break, while Ben Chilwell (£5.0m) dropped to the bench after his 90-minute run-out at Wembley on Friday.
Eric Dier (£4.7m) played no part after picking up a muscle injury in that win over the Czech Republic.
France 4-0 Iceland
- Hugo Lloris (£5.4m) – 90 minutes
- Paul Pogba (£8.9m) – 90 minutes
- Olivier Giroud (£7.7m) – 89 minutes
- N’Golo Kante (£5.0m) – 80 minutes
- Moussa Sissoko (£4.9m) – 1 minute
- Kurt Zouma (£5.0m) – 0 minutes
- Aron Gunnarsson (£4.4m) – 90 minutes
- Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.3m) – 90 minutes
- Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£5.5m) – 0 minutes
Paul Pogba (£8.9m) produced another fine display for his national team as France romped to a 4-0 win over Iceland in Paris.
Despite his excellent performance, Pogba’s role as a deep-lying playmaker alongside N’Golo Kante (£5.0m) emphasised just how difficult it is to turn a star turn in the “number six” position into meaningful attacking returns – something that we Fantasy managers are only concerned about.
The Manchester United midfielder, indeed, didn’t register a single shot against Iceland.
Pogba did lay on three chances for his team-mates on Monday evening but was generally the player who kickstarted France’s attacks from the double-pivot, “assisting the assister” for his country’s third and fourth goals.
It should be said that Pogba did set up a goal in Friday’s 4-1 win over Moldova and that the Frenchman plays in a different system at Old Trafford under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The recent absence of Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera (both £5.0m) has seen Pogba adopt a more restrained role in United’s midfield, however, and his Fantasy returns have dipped as a result.
The hope from a Fantasy owners’ perspective is that Matic and other United assets recover ahead of Double Gameweek 32, allowing Pogba the freedom to once again make those surges into the “number ten” position and link up with the fluid front three ahead of him.
Whether his heart is still in Manchester, of course, is another question.
Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud (£8.9m) bagged his second goal in three days and became France’s all-time third highest goalscorer.
Giroud volleyed in a Benjamin Pavard cross from close range to double France’s lead, having earlier gone close with a header from another Pavard delivery.
The Chelsea striker’s hold-up play again caught the eye and it will be interesting to see if Maurizio Sarri has been closely watching Giroud’s displays for his national side, with Double Gameweek 32 on the horizon.
The former Arsenal forward hasn’t started a league match in 2019 and is very much playing second fiddle to Gonzalo Higuaín (£9.6m), who also has the advantage of being fully rested over the international break due to his non-involvement with Argentina.
However, Higuaín has hardly been firing on all cylinders of late and has registered just three goals (against Championship-bound Huddersfield and Fulham) in ten competitive appearances for Chelsea.
The Blues contest two league matches in little over 72 hours on Sunday and Wednesday, so there may be a glimmer of hope for a rare top-flight start for Giroud in one of those fixtures.
Hugo Lloris (£5.4m) made four saves, two of them from Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.3m), but none of the shots he faced forced anything other than routine stops
Cardiff City’s Aron Gunnarsson (£4.4m) lasted the whole 90 minutes in central midfield but Burnley’s Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£5.5m) missed out through injury.
Kurt Zouma (£5.0m) was an unused substitute for the hosts, while Everton team-mate Lucas Digne (£5.2m) wasn’t involved after picking up a hamstring injury in training with his national side.
Portugal 1-1 Serbia
- Rui Patricio (£4.5m) – 90 minutes
- Bernardo Silva (£7.5m) – 90 minutes
- Ruben Neves (£4.9m) – 0 minutes
- Joao Moutinho (£5.3m) – 0 minutes
- Diogo Jota (£6.1m) – 0 minutes
- Aleksandr Mitrovic (£6.4m) – 90 minutes
There was a triple boost for Nuno Espirito Santo ahead of Double Gameweek 32 as Ruben Neves (£4.9m), Joao Moutinho (£5.3m) and Diogo Jota (£6.1m) remained unused substitutes in Portugal’s Euro 2020 qualification draw with Serbia.
Jota hasn’t played a single minute over the international break, while Neves and Moutinho only had 62 and 87-minute run-outs respectively in their country’s 0-0 draw with Ukraine last Friday.
Rotation remains a fear for Wolverhampton Wanderers’ assets in Gameweek 32 with the FA Cup semi-final against Watford taking place a week on Sunday but a shortage of international game-time for Wolves’ three Portuguese midfielders is, at least, a positive in that regard.
Their team-mate and compatriot, Rui Patricio (£4.5m), played the full 90 minutes and conceded an early penalty for a rash foul on Mijat Gacinovic. Dusan Tadic, rather than Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.4m), converted the subsequent spot-kick.
The Fulham striker played the entirety of the match and had few sights of goal, though did force Patricio into a save with a header from a Tadic cross and set up another two chances for his team-mates.
Bernardo Silva (£7.5m) is another Portugal international whose Premier League club enjoys two fixtures in Gameweek 32 and the Manchester City midfielder was handed a 90-minute run-out for the second time in 72 hours in Lisbon.
Initially lining up on the right flank, Bernardo was moved to a more central role after Cristiano Ronaldo’s 31st-minute departure with a hamstring injury.
Bernardo set up a glorious chance for substitute Pizzi as Portugal ramped up the pressure and almost won the match in stoppage time with a shot that was deflected just wide of the post.
As it was, this was another blank for Bernardo, who hasn’t scored more than four FPL points in a single Premier League match in 2019.
Turkey 4-0 Moldova
- Cenk Tosun (£6.4m) – 90 minutes
- Caglar Soyuncu (£4.9m) – 0 minutes
Cenk Tosun (£6.4m) played a starring role as Turkey maintained their 100% record in Euro 2020 qualification Group H.
The Everton striker scored twice in Eskisehir, first turning in a Burak Yilmaz cross on the half-volley from eight yards out and then heading in a Deniz Turuc corner just after half-time.
Turkey utterly dominated against Moldova, with Tosun himself having seven of Turkey’s 19 shots and setting up a further three attempts on goal – one of which was a Hakan Calhanoglu effort that struck the woodwork.
Tosun was deployed on the left of a 4-2-3-1, rather than as the out-and-out centre-forward that we have seen him sporadically feature as at Everton.
Leicester’s Caglar Soyuncu (£4.9m) was an unused substitute.
Catalonia 2-1 Venezuela
- Oriel Romeu (£4.2m)- 45 minutes
- Martin Montoya (£4.3m) – 45 minutes
- Salomon Rondon (£6.0m) – 0 minutes
All three Premier League representatives in Catalonia’s friendly against Venezuela began as substitutes in Girona.
Budget FPL options Oriel Romeu (£4.2m) and Martin Montoya (£4.3m) were thrown on at half-time by the hosts, with Montoya providing the assist for Bojan Krkic’s opening goal but also playing a part in Venezuela’s equaliser when his weak header only found opposition striker and subsequent goalscorer, Roberto Rosales.
Montoya’s Brighton side have three Double Gameweeks over the next month.
Salomon Rondon (£6.0m), who found the back of the net in a 72-minute showing against Argentina on Friday, remained unused on the bench in this match.
Both of Venezuela’s friendlies were contested in Spain, so jet lag isn’t the concern it usually is for the Newcastle striker when on international duty.
Luxembourg 1-2 Ukraine
- Oleksandr Zinchenko (£4.7m) – 90 minutes
Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko (£4.7m) lasted the full 90 minutes as Ukraine avoided embarrassment in Luxembourg by scoring a stoppage-time winner in their second Euro 2020 qualification fixture.
Zinchenko, playing in his usual central midfield role for his country, provided the assist for Ukraine’s equalising goal with a fine chipped through-ball for goalscorer Viktor Tsygankov.
Zinchenko has started at left-back for City in each of their last four Premier League matches but his listing as an FPL midfielder is a significant drawback as we mull over Fantasy options for Double Gameweek 32.
Kosovo 1-1 Bulgaria
- Arijanet Muric (£4.5m) – 90 minutes
Manchester City’s reserve goalkeeper Arijanet Muric (£4.5m) was beaten by a Vasil Bozhikov header from a 39th-minute Bulgaria corner as Kosovo got their Euro 2020 qualification campaign underway.
Muric only had one other shot to deal with as the hosts dominated the match and deservedly drew level in the second half.
Thailand 0-4 Uruguay
- Lucas Torreira (£4.7m) – 45 minutes
Lucas Torreira (£4.7m) emerged as a half-time substitute as Uruguay comfortably won the final of the China Cup in Nanning.
This was the second appearance off the bench in three days for Arsenal’s defensive midfielder, who is suspended until Gameweek 34.
Saudi Arabia 3-2 Equatorial Guinea
- Pedro Obiang (£4.3m) – 90 minutes
Pedro Obiang (£4.3m) played the full 90 minutes in Riyadh as Equatorial Guinea lost 3-2 to Saudi Arabia.
The West Ham United asset lined up in central midfield as part of a 4-4-2 and wasn’t involved in either of his country’s goals.
Obiang took all five of his nation’s corner-kicks, without success.