Our latest Scout Notes article concentrates on the Fantasy Premier League assets who were in action for their countries on Friday evening.
Finland 3-0 Liechtenstein
If the headlines were to be believed, Friday night’s international action was only about one man and two words: ‘Pukki Party’.
Finland’s 3-0 win over Liechtenstein confirmed their spot in next year’s European Championships – the nation’s first-ever trip to a major international competition.
And they did so courtesy of two goals from Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki (£6.7m), the early-season wonder of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) whose domestic shindig fizzled out seven long and barren matches ago.
Pukki is still owned by 20.8% of FPL managers, although more than 200,000 have made him the international break’s most sold player at present and he’s close to half his peak ownership of three million from Gameweek 7.
Those still clinging on will be hoping his national heroics finally banish all those blanks.
Before a Gameweek 13 trip to Everton, there’s still another Euro 2020 qualifier for the Finn to fulfil, away in Greece on Monday night. It’s a dead rubber, with the Greeks a distant third in a group won emphatically by Italy, so Pukki need not play at all.
If he does, fatigue could be a factor at Goodison Park on Saturday. And if he doesn’t, form for country is not always easily transferable to club, particularly when the club in question has lost six of their last seven in the league, scoring just twice along the way.
Other, better-established parties – S Club, Vardy – are out there, so Pukki’s wild Friday night in Helsinki is no guarantee that his domestic comedown is done and dusted just yet.
Argentina 1-0 Brazil
While footballing eyes were fixed on Finland, more seasoned Fantasy observers would have gleaned plenty from Friday’s friendly, in Saudi Arabia, between Argentina and Brazil.
It proved to be a tale of three strikers in Riyadh.
Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino (£9.4m) played the full 90 minutes for a Brazil side that lost 1-0 – not the greatest of news for his 10.6% ownership with a tough trip to Crystal Palace coming up on Saturday.
He was joined up front by Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus (£9.5m), who contrived to miss a penalty minutes before Argentina went up the other end and did exactly the same thing, Liverpool’s Alisson (£5.9m) saving Lionel Messi’s effort.
Messi did score from the rebound, however, and the Fantasy winners to emerge from all of that were probably the 21.8% of managers with Sergio Aguero (£12.0m) in their squads.
The forward stayed on the bench throughout the encounter and Jesus’s miss – following on from another spot-kick debacle in City’s 1-1 Champions League draw with Atalanta – was another reminder for Pep Guardiola that Aguero is the team’s premier penalty taker. And a well-rested one at that.
Chelsea winger Willian (£7.1m) played 71 minutes, as did Jesus, who was replaced by Everton’s Richarlison (£7.9m).
Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz (£4.5m) was an unused sub but club colleague Wesley (£6.0m) made his international debut as an 87th-minute replacement.
Fabinho (£5.5m) also enjoyed a 35-minute run-out off the bench.
For Argentina, Nicolas Otamendi (£5.2m) and Juan Foyth (£4.9m) put in a full shift at the back, with the latter’s Spurs team-mate Giovani Lo Celso (£7.3m) playing 59 minutes in midfield.
Emiliano Martinez (£4.4m) wasn’t called upon from the Argentinean bench.
Both sides are in friendly action again, with Argentina facing Uruguay in Israel on Monday and Brazil taking on South Korea in Abu Dhabi the day after.
Panama 0-3 Mexico
One more well-owned FPL striker caught the eye in Friday’s matches.
Wolves frontman Raul Jimenez (£7.3m) – briefly yellow-flagged after picking up a knock in Gameweek 12 – scored twice as Mexico won 3-0 in Panama in the CONCACAF Nations League.
The 13.4%-owned Jimenez also provided an assist during an influential 88-minute stint and may figure again in Mexico’s next fixture of the competition, at home to Bermuda, in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
He has plenty of domestic form at present, with attacking returns in four of his last five starts, but fatigue will surely become a factor sooner or later as Jimenez has featured in every league and European game so far this season.
Albania under-21s 0-3 England under-21s
Phil Foden (£5.2m) continues to light up the stage on the international scene.
The Manchester City midfielder, afforded just over half an hour of Premier League football this season, scored a superb free-kick and assisted a Conor Gallagher strike in an 81-minute run-out for the England under-21s on Friday.
Aaron Ramsdale (£4.6m), Reece James (£5.0m), Marc Guehi (£4.0m), Ben Godfrey (£4.5m), Tom Davies (£5.3m) and Mason Greenwood (£4.3m) all lasted the full game for Aidy Boothroyd’s side.
Reiss Nelson (£5.3m), on as a 64th-minute substitute for teammate Joe Willock (£4.9m), scored England’s third goal in stoppage time.
The Arsenal winger was set up by Spurs’ summer signing Ryan Sessegnon (£5.4m), who played the final 18 minutes in Shkoder.
James Justin (£4.8m) and Rhian Brewster (£4.4m) were given 26 and 72-minute run-outs respectively, with Brewster striking the woodwork from the penalty spot.
Max Aarons (£4.4m), Brandon Austin (£4.0m), Oliver Skipp (£4.4m) and Dwight McNeil (£6.0m) were all unused substitutes.
Elsewhere on the youth scene, Southampton defender Kevin Danso (£4.3m) played the full 90 minutes as Austria under-21s hammered their Kosovan counterparts 4-0.
Euro 2020 Qualifiers Round-Up
Bournemouth’s Josh King (£6.3m) played 78 minutes and served up an assist as Norway beat the Faroe Islands 4-0.
Orjen Nyland (£4.3m), who tasted Premier League action in Gameweek 12, was an unused substitute.
Bosnia and Herzegovina lost 3-0 at home to Italy, with Arsenal full-back Sead Kolasinac (£5.3m) playing the whole match and Sheffield United’s Muhamed Besic (£4.5m) 61 minutes for the hosts, while Chelsea duo Jorginho (£5.1m) and Emerson Palmieri (£5.5m) did the full 90 for the Italians.
Denmark saw off Gibraltar 6-0, with Christian Eriksen (£8.7m) helping himself to a couple of late goals. He played the full match, as did Kasper Schmeichel (£5.2m), while Southampton’s Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£4.8m) came on after 54 minutes.
Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof (£5.3m) started and finished Sweden’s 2-0 win in Romania, a match which had to be stopped briefly when substitute Alexander Isak was subject to racist abuse from the crowd.
Manchester City midfielder Rodri (£5.4m) played the full 90 as Spain thrashed Malta 7-0, but the gloves were off for keepers David de Gea (£5.5m) and Kepa Arrizabalaga (£5.5m), who were reduced to bench-warming duties.
Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka (£5.2m) took a break from his Arsenal woes with a 90-minute run-out in his country’s 1-0 win over Georgia.
West Ham striker Albian Ajeti (£5.8m) played the first 71 minutes of that encounter.
Arica Cup of Nations Qualifiers Round-Up
Wolves defender Romain Saiss (£4.4m) played the full match for Morocco in their 0-0 draw at home to Mauritania.
He was joined by Southampton’s Sofiane Boufal (£5.5m) after 68 minutes of that stalemate.
Nominative determinism failed to inspire Marvelous Nakamba‘s (£4.4m) Zimbabwe team-mates to anything more than a 0-0 draw with Botswana, with the Aston Villa midfielder putting in a 90-minute shift.
CONCACAF Nations League Round-Up
Newcastle United’s DeAndre Yedlin (£4.4m) came on after 86 minutes as USA beat Canada 4-1, while Watford defender Adrian Mariappa (£4.2m) played 90 minutes as Jamaica won 2-0 in Antigua and Barbuda.
International Friendlies Round-Up
Defenders Davinson Sanchez (£5.3m) and Yerry Mina (£5.4m) started and finished Colombia’s 1-0 win over Peru.
Lucas Torreira (£4.8m) played the final 22 minutes of Uruguay’s 2-1 win over Hungary.
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