FPL International Break Roundup – Mar
The FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers kicked off in Europe over this international break and the final round of qualifiers of the 2021 African Cup of Nations were also played. Qualifiers in South America were suspended, while only a few qualifiers were played in Asia.
Most European nations played triple-headers – 3 games over a 7-8 day spell, though it is worthy to note that several teams have rotated heavily.
England enjoyed a good start to their qualifying campaign, becoming only one of four nations to get 9pts from the triple header.
The England team has 21 players playing in the Premier League.
Many England players are praiseworthy, but in particular, Mason Mount, enjoyed a good session. He played well in the two games he started and will be a key player in their Euro 2020 campaign.
Kane scored twice and Sterling also contributed significantly with 3 starts in 3 games.
Nick Pope also deserves praise. He started all 3 games in Pickford’s absence and remains a strong contender for the number one spot this summer.
Jota stars for Portugal
It is never easy to outshine the great Cristiano Ronaldo but Diogo Jota managed to do so this international break.
The Liverpool forward scored 3 goals in 2 appearances for the Portuguese, cementing himself for selection for Euro 2020 in a very competitive Portugal team. Jota has now scored 16 goals for club and country in an injury-hit season – you feel that there is more to come from him.
His scoring form should be noted by club manager Jurgen Klopp, though Firmino may be fresher for this weekend’s GW30 fixtures as the Brazilian did not travel.
West Ham’s Soucek continued his wonderful season by netting an international hattrick away at Estonia.
The monumental moment wat Soucek’s first career hattrick and the first by a Czech player in an international since Milan Baros in 2009. It is also Czech Republic’s 6th hattrick in their 30-year international history as an independent national.
The ever-present West Ham midfielder is now on 14 goals this season and should go straight into the XI for GW30’s tie at Wolves.
Belgium, the world number one-ranked team, is another team to track for FPL managers.
In their latest call-up, they have 9 players playing in the Premier League.
They took 7pts from 3 games this round, scoring 12 goals.
In terms of FPL, it is worthy to note that De Bruyne (1), Batshuayi (1), Trossad (2), Praet (1) And Benteke (1) all found the net in a fruitful international break.
Mitrovic on Fire
The Serb may be struggling to get game time at Fulham, but he is still firing from all cylinders for his national team.
He scored 5 goals in 3 qualifiers, giving Serbia a good start to their campaign.
This season, Mitrovic has scored 6 goals for Serbia and just 2 for Fulham. However, this prolific form is not likely to persuade Scott Parker to give the Serb more game time, he remains outside of most FPL radars.
This international break finalised the 24 participants for the 2021 African Cup of Nations, which will actually be played Jan – Feb 2022. As such, we expect several players to be missing in Premier League action over that period next season.
Next season is of course far away from FPL managers’ thoughts but we can expect players like Salah, Mahrez, Mane, Zaha, Pepe and Aubameyang to all be out of action for at least a couple of games next season.
Thankfully there were no significant injuries reported except for France and Manchester United’s Anthony Martial, who limped off against Kazakhstan. His injury, however, do not appear to be serious.
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