Hectic end to the season for our internationals

A round-up of how our players are doing for their countries around the world.

By Bruce Talbot • 08 June 2022

Rob Sanchez has linked up with Spain for a round of Nations League qualifiers.

It’s been a busy end to the season for the 17 Albion players currently on international duty, with more fixtures to come in the next few days.

At senior level, Spain’s Rob Sanchez are in Geneva to face Switzerland on Thursday in the Nations League before hosting Czech Republic in Malaga on Sunday. Sanchez will be hoping to make his first start in either of the two fixtures after being on the bench for the 1-1 draw against Portugal and Sunday’s 2-2 draw against the Czechs.

One of the biggest upsets in the first round of Nations League fixtures was Belgium’s 4-1 home defeat to the Netherlands. Albion’s Leandro Trossard came on in the first half to replace the injured Romelu Lukaku and will be hoping to keep his place for tonight’s game in Brussels against Poland. Belgium also face Wales in Cardiff on Sunday and the return fixture next Wednesday against the Poles in Warsaw.

The Dutch have called up Albion keeper Kjell Scherpen because of injury to first-choice Tim Krul for their Group A4 fixtures with Wales in Cardiff tonight and Poland in Rotterdam on Saturday.  

Qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations has begun for Yves Bissouma and Enock Mwepu with Mali and Zambia. Bissouma claimed two assists in Mali’s 4-0 win over Congo at the weekend and is preparing to face South Sudan on Thursday.

Mwepu was yellow-carded in the 3-1 defeat to Ivory Coast on Friday but he scored in their latest qualifier against Comoros Islands on Tuesday in a 2-1 win for Zambia.

While Albion’s European and African contingent concentrate on qualifiers, our players in South America have been impressing for their countries in friendlies.

Having been an unused sub in Argentina’s Finalissima win over Italy at Wembley last week, Alexis Mac Allister played in their 5-0 victory over Estonia on Sunday, impressing in a central midfield role in Pamplona as Lionel Messi helped himself to all five goals.

Moises Caicedo started and Jeremy Sarmiento came on in the second half in Chicago as Ecuador’s World Cup preparations continued with a goalless draw against Mexico. They are due to play Cape Verde in Florida on Sunday.

Steven Alzate impressed new Colombian head coach Nestor Lorenzo in Murcia as they defeated Saudi Arabia 1-0 while Japan striker Kaoru Mitoma, who signed for us last summer and spent the campaign on loan at Union St-Gilloise, scored against Paraguay in Sapporo last Thursday, before coming on as a second-half substitute in Monday’s 1-0 loss to Brazil in Tokyo.

Leo Ostigard, who has just completed a loan spell with Genoa, played the 90 minutes for Norway as they beat Sweden 2-1 on Sunday. Norway host Slovenia on Thursday before the return game against the Swedes, both in Oslo.

At youth level, Carl Rushworth has been called up to England’s under-21 squad for their European Championship qualifiers. They were 2-1 winners against Czech Republic last Friday and faced Albania at Chesterfield on Tuesday with games against Kosovo and Slovenia to come.

Zak Sturge and James Beadle will represent England’s under-18s in a four-nation tournament featuring Austria, Wales and Croatia in Zagreb. Their first game was against Austria last night and they face the Welsh on Friday and the hosts next Monday.

Marc Leonard played for Scotland as they began their EURO qualifiers with a goalless draw against Belgium last Friday. The Scots are in Vejle to play Denmark tonight.

Striker Evan Ferguson was a used substitute for the Republic of Ireland’s under-21s in their EURO qualifying wins against Bosnia & Herzegovina (3-0) and Montenegro (3-1). Ireland travel to Ascoli to face Italy next Monday.

Ed Turns has been named in Wales’ squad for ties against Netherlands and Gibraltar while Cam Peupion helped Australia to a 2-0 win over Kuwait as qualifying for the under-23 Asian Cup got underway.