How Premier League stars fared on international mission as Kepa blocks Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo

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Just three days after the Premier League’s craziest day, a host of Sunday stars were involved in international service on Wednesday night – and the success has been widely varied.

In a group of friendlies across Europe, more than 35 England’s top-flight players were involved for their country, world champion France, the light shining in a beating from Ukraine to Paris.

But with 15 Premier League players involved in Portugal’s game against Spain, Virgil van Dijk captaining the Netherlands against Mexico and an outcast from Chelsea leaving for Germany, there are opportunities for some that are not. not available for their clubs as the international break has started.

Wolves winger Adama Traore came to make his Spain debut against Portugal on Wednesday

Rui Patricio, in goal for Portugal, was excellent throughout the scoreless stalemate in Lisbon

Rui Patricio, in goal for Portugal, was excellent throughout the scoreless stalemate in Lisbon

KEPA AND PATRICIO STAR IN THE PORTUGAL-SPAIN STALEMATE

Squeezed out as No.1 Chelsea by signing Edouard Mendy, his confidence shattered following a series of mistakes, Spain goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was given a lifeline by his national team manager on Wednesday .

The 26-year-old out of form started against Portugal from Cristiano Ronaldo in Lisbon and despite the hosts flirting with the crossbar twice, a first clean sheet since July 14 makes Kepa’s chances of a club remember no evil.

In fact, in a star-studded contest that involved a grand total of 15 Premier League players, it was the goalkeepers who stole the show, with Kepa’s counterpart Rui Patricio of Wolves making a series of saves. fine in an entertaining and aimless dead end.

For Kepa however, after a nightmare of a few months between the sticks, the faith Luis Enrique shows him will be extremely comfortable.

Be careful, he took his chance. Although the Chelsea keeper looked assured under the high ball and shrewdly dominated his penalty area, he was beaten twice for his crossbar to save him.

Kepa Arrizabalaga kept an impressive clean sheet for Spain against Portugal on Wednesday

Kepa Arrizabalaga kept an impressive clean sheet for Spain against Portugal on Wednesday

Portuguese captain Cristiano Ronaldo started for the hosts but couldn't score against Spain

Portuguese captain Cristiano Ronaldo started for the hosts but couldn’t score against Spain

Joao Felix sort of missed the goal at his mercy in the last minute of the contest

Joao Felix sort of missed the goal at his mercy in the last minute of the contest

FIRST LEAGUE PLAYERS INVOLVED IN THE INTERNATIONALS

Portugal 0-0 Spain

  • Rui Patricio, Joao Cancelo, Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho, Bernardo Silva, Diogo Jota, Nelson Semedo, Ruben Dias, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Eric Garcia, Diego Llorente, Sergio Reguilon, Dani Ceballos, Rodrigo, Adama Traore

France 7-1 Ukraine

  • Lucas Digne, Olivier Giroud, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba

Netherlands 0-1 Mexico

  • Virgil Van Dijk, Gini Wijnaldum, Donny van de Beek, Nathan Ake, Raul Jimenez

Germany 3-3 Turkey

  • Bernd Leno, Antonio Rudiger, Kai Havertz

Switzerland 1-2 Croatia

  • Granit Xhaka, Fabian Schar, Mateo Kovacic

Italy 6-0 Moldova

Poland 5-1 Finland

Denmark 4-0 Faroe Islands

  • Kasper Schmeichel, Jannik Vestergaard, Andreas Christensen

Cyprus 1-2 Czech Republic

First it was Ronaldo with a piercing left-footed drive that channeled the underside of the crossbar, before Renato Sanches had Kepa beaten for the woodwork to save the Spanish keeper again.

He had his moments though, as he reacted quickly to suppress an opportunity for Joao Felix late. Then again, the Atletico Madrid striker should have pocketed a last-minute winner, but he sort of missed the ball by a yard, the goal gaping.

Sometimes that’s all you need to kickstart a much needed momentum – a fluke. Kepa certainly hopes Wednesday will be a turning point.

It remains to be seen whether he will start the Nations League match against Switzerland on Saturday, with David de Gea behind the scenes.

Elsewhere among the away stars on display at the Jose Alvalade Stadium, four of Spain’s five full-backs play on England’s coasts, with Man City’s Eric Garcia, Leeds’ Diego Llorente and Tottenham’s Sergio Reguilon all contributing to the clean sheet visit .

Further on, Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos was safe in midfield, Leeds striker Rodrigo saw a fine first-half effort cleverly saved by Patricio and Adama Traore – who wondered who to represent internationally with the Mali interested – made an exciting debut for Spain. in the final stages.

On the Portuguese side, there was no replacement appearance for Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes but Diogo Jota, the £ 43million summer signing at Liverpool, appeared 10 minutes from time.

Wolves’ Nelson Semedo and City record-signing Ruben Dias were also second-half substitutes.

But the most influential replacement was Bernardo Silva, the City playmaker perfectly triggering the Portuguese attacks in the second half. His quality momentum should have resulted in a victory for the hosts.

Among the starters, wolf pair Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho were their regulars at the center of the park, while City’s Joao Cancelo – who scored a rocket for his country last month – was solid at right-back.

GIROUD’S TIME TO SHINE ON CAPE N ° 100

Elsewhere, on a night of many international friendlies, it was the forgotten man’s turn to shine in his 100th cap.

For Olivier Giroud, it was an unforgettable evening and perhaps one of the proudest of his career. He referred to a ton of appearances in France with two goals against a subdued Ukrainian side, in a 7-1 win at the Stade de France.

In a way, too, his two goals summed up the 34-year-old and his style of play superbly.

Often a man able to inspire moments – see the 2017 Scorpion kick against Crystal Palace – his first goal was a superb left-footed curler in the top corner, while his second was a diving header from a goalkeeper spill.

Olivier Giroud has scored twice in his 100th selection for France in a 7-1 win over Ukraine in Paris

Olivier Giroud has scored twice in his 100th selection for France in a 7-1 win over Ukraine in Paris

Everton left-back Lucas Digne started for France in a dominant win for the world champions

Everton left-back Lucas Digne started for France in a dominant win for the world champions

This brings his total for France to 42 goals. Not bad for Chelsea’s third-choice striker and a man so often underestimated and underused by his managers at club level.

Clearly still valued on the international scene by Didier Deschamps, Giroud is only nine years behind Thierry Henry in the French goal record. Age is not on his side, but Giroud might just catch it.

NO RETURN TO WINNING WAYS FOR THE DUTCH TRIO

Meanwhile in Amsterdam there was disappointment for the Dutch all-star trio in action against Mexico.

Raul Jimenez, who recently signed a new four-year contract to stay with Wolves, picked up a 60th-minute penalty to give his country the win over Virgil van Dijk, Gini Wijnaldum and Donny van de Beek.

The three Dutch stars started at the Johan Cruyff Arena, potentially still in shock after heavy losses for their clubs on Sunday.

Manchester United's summer signing Donny van de Beek started for the Netherlands on Wednesday

Virgil van Dijk, who conceded seven goals for Liverpool on Sunday, was on the losing side again for his country.

Donny van de Beek (left) and captain Virgil van Dijk leave for Holland against Mexico

But Wolves' Raul Jimenez scored a second-half penalty that won the game for Mexico

But Wolves’ Raul Jimenez scored a second-half penalty that won the game for Mexico

HAVERTZ IN CONFIGURE TWO … AND DON’T FORGET TO RUDIGURE

There was better success for a Premier League player in Germany, as Chelsea’s £ 73million man Kai Havertz scored two goals for his country in a 3-3 draw against Turkey .

Havertz scored goals for Julian Draxler and Florian Neuhaus in Cologne, although Arsenal No.1 Bernd Leno conceded a last-minute equalizer for the hosts.

Interestingly, although he was frozen at Stamford Bridge, Antonio Rudiger began to defend the Germans. Still highly regarded by Joachim Low, it will be fascinating to see if the center-back can hold onto his place in the national team after failing to walk away from the Blues this summer.

Chelsea's Kai Havertz recorded two assists for Germany in a 3-3 draw with Turkey

Chelsea’s Kai Havertz recorded two assists for Germany in a 3-3 draw with Turkey

WEST BROM OUTCAST NETS HAT-TRICK LIKE POLAND SKIPPER

Elsewhere in Europe, Swiss captain Granit Xhaka of Arsenal also landed an assist in a 2-1 loss to Croatia – which saw Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic start for the winners – while Kasper Schmeichel, Jannik Vestergaard and Andreas Christensen all played in a 4-0 victory for Denmark over the Faroe Islands.

However, a Premier League’s best moment on Wednesday night may have come in a completely unknown amount.

Kamil Grosicki, who plays for West Brom, scored 19-minute treble for Poland at Gdnask

Kamil Grosicki, who plays for West Brom, scored 19-minute treble for Poland at Gdnask

Winger Kamil Grosicki has only scored once for West Brom since arriving in January, but managed a stunning 19-minute treble for Poland against Finland in Gdansk.

Captain of his country without Robert Lewandowski, Grosicki has already scored four goals in the 2020-2021 campaign – all at the international level. But he has yet to play in the Premier League this season.

Currently winless and languishing dangerously close to the relegation zone, Slaven Bilic perhaps should take note.

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