England v Brazil

Weekend international football round-up

There was plenty of enthralling action taking place in international matches across the world over the weekend, and here we will take a look back at them.

With the 2023/24 football season on pause across the globe, the final international break of the campaign is well underway, and there was plenty of action on the international stage over the course of the weekend. There were as many as thirteen friendlies that took place all over the world on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th March 2024.

Whilst there was nothing specific at stake in these friendlies, such as qualification for a major tournament, these games still held some importance for the players involved. A number of established stars know their place is almost certainly secure, barring injury, including players such as Harry Kane for England, Lionel Messi for Argentina, and Virgil Van Dijk for the Netherlands.

For others, these friendlies offer them the chance to show their international boss what they can do in the bid to help earn themselves another call-up in the next international break. These players will be hoping to convince their Head Coaches not only with a positive performance for their country, but also by continuing their form at club level.

Here, we are going to go through all of the international matches that took place worldwide over the course of the weekend, starting with Argentina’s game against El Salvador.

Argentina 3 – 0 El Salvador

We begin this review of this weekend’s international action with 2022 World Cup Winners Argentina against El Salvador at the Lincoln Financial Field in the American state of Philadelphia on Saturday. It was a game that was dominated by Lionel Scaloni’s side who won 3 – 0 thanks to goals from Spurs central defender Cristian Romero (16’), Chelsea midfielder Enzo Fernandez (42’) and another Tottenham player in the form of attacking midfielder Giovani Lo Celso (52’).

Peru 2 – 0 Nicaragua

Next up in this review is Peru’s game against Nicaragua on Saturday at the Estadio Alejandro Villanueva, located in the Peruvian Capital of Lima. This was a comfortable 2 – 0 victory for the home side, who were able to beat Nicaragua 2 – 0 following goals from Sporting Cristal’s Joao Grimaldo (2’) and Cagliari’s Gianluca Lapadula (13’).

Zambia 2 – 2 Zimbabwe (5 – 6 on penalties)

We will now move on to the Bingu National Stadium that hosted a friendly between Zambia and Zimbabwe on Saturday afternoon. In the end, it was to be a 2 – 2 draw, with Stoppila Sunzu (5’) giving Zambia the lead before his side’s lead was doubled thanks to Clatous Chama almost 20 minutes later (24’). There was then a comeback from Zimbabwe, who scored through Charlton Athletic forward Macauley Bonne (32’) and Walter Musona to make it 2 – 2 (45+2’). They then went on to win 6 – 5 on penalties.

Malawi 0 – 4 Kenya

Next up is another friendly involving two nations from the continent from Africa, with this game taking place between Malawi and Kenya at the Bingu National Stadium on Saturday afternoon. It was a commanding 4 – 0 victory for the visiting Kenya side, who scored their goals through Michael Olunga (1’, 5’ – Penalty), Ayub Timbe (83’) and John Avire (90+3’).

Ivory Coast 2 – 2 Benin

The next game is another all-Africa affair between the Ivory Coast and Benin on the afternoon of Saturday, 23rd March 2024. It was a competitive 2 – 2 draw on the day, with Junior Olaitan giving the away side the early lead (8’) before former Leicester City, AFC Bournemouth, and Leeds United forward Max Gradel equalised for the Ivory Coast just before half an hour had elapsed (29’).

Benin then re-took the lead with Junior Olaitan’s second goal of the game early on in the second half, before the home side was able to restore parity again thanks to Oumar Diakite with just over twenty minutes of the contest remaining (69’).

Republic of Ireland 0 – 0 Belgium

The Republic of Ireland came face to face with Belgium in an international friendly at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. Plenty of chances were created by the likes of Blackburn Rovers’ Sammie Szmodics and Luton Town’s Chiedozie Ogbene for the Republic of Ireland, whilst Aston Villa’s Youri Tielemans and Thomas Meunier were both denied for Belgium. The home side, led by interim Head Coach in the form of former Manchester United central defender John O’Shea, did have a great chance to take the lead through Brighton’s Evan Ferguson from the penalty spot, but the Seagulls forward was not able to find the back of the Red Devils’ net from the spot.

It is England up next for Belgium at the iconic Wembley Stadium on Tuesday evening (19:45pm Kick-Off), whilst O’Shea’s Republic Of Ireland will be taking on Switzerland on the same night and starting at the same time.

Slovakia 0 – 2 Austria

Slovakia came face to face with Austria in the next game we are reviewing here at the Tehelné Pole (Slovakia’s National Football Stadium) on Saturday afternoon. It took just six seconds for RB Leipzig attacking midfielder Christoph Baumgartner to give Austria the lead (1’) before former Aston Villa and current West Bromwich Albion loanee Andi Weimann doubled his side’s advantage late on in the contest in the second half to confirm the 2 – 0 success for Austria over Slovakia (82’).

Denmark 0 – 0 Switzerland

The next game to go through here is the 0 – 0 draw between Denmark and Switzerland at the Parken Stadium, home of the reigning Danish Champions FC Copenhagen. Both sides had 2 shots on target from 7 and 9 total shots, respectively. It was though the away side who did have control of possession throughout the ninety minutes with 54% of the ball in comparison to 46% for the home side that day.

England 0 – 1 Brazil

We are now moving on to the first of two England friendlies this month against Brazil at the iconic Wembley Stadium. Unfortunately for Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions, it was to be a 1 – 0 win for the Seleção thanks to a goal from soon to be Real Madrid striker Endrick with just 10 minutes remaining (80’) of what was a very competitive contest.

Both sides had 14 shots with England have 3 to Brazil’s 5 shots on target. The home side had the most possession with 53% compared to the visitors, who had a total of 47% of the ball on that Saturday night.

France 0 – 2 Germany

Two heavyweights of the international football seen came face to face at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon in what was a high profile friendly game contested between 2018 World Cup Winners France and Four time World Cup Winners Germany on Saturday. It was a 2 – 0 win for the visiting Germany, with Bayer Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz giving Die Mannschaft the lead after just 8 seconds with what was the fastest goal in the history of the German National Team (1’). The win was sealed thanks to a goal from Arsenal midfielder Kai Havertz early in the second half (49’).

It was Germany who had the most possession with no less than 58% of the ball compared to the hosts France, who had a total of 42% of the ball. Julian Nagelsmann’s Germany team also had the most shots on target with 6 compared to just 2 for Didier Deschamps’ France side.

Tunisia 0 – 0 Croatia (4 – 5 on Penalties)

The final international friendly game on Saturday to review saw Tunisia and Croatia play out a goalless 0 – 0 draw on a Saturday evening match at the Cairo International Stadium in Egypt. Croatia did win 5 – 4 on penalties in the end.

We will now move on to our review of the two international friendlies that took place on Sunday, 24th March 2024 – Ecuador against Italy and Guatemala’s game against  Venezuela. We will start with the former.

Ecuador 0 – 2 Italy

As was just mentioned, this review of Sunday’s action begins at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, located in the state of New Jersey in the United States between Ecuador and Italy. In the end, it was to be an entertaining and comfortable 2 – 0 win for Italy, who have former Manchester City Head Coach Roberto Mancini in charge. AS Roma’s Lorenzo Pellegrini gave the Italians the early lead (3’) before the victory was confirmed by the second goal for Italy that day, which was scored by Inter Milan midfielder Nicolo Barella in second half stoppage time (90+4’).

Guatemala 0 – 0 Venezuela

The final game of the international action from the weekend is the friendly game that was contested between the national teams of Central and South American countries in the form of Guatemala and Venezuela on Sunday. It was to be a 0 – 0 draw in what was a competitive stalemate at the Shell Energy Stadium in Houston in the state of Texas in the United States of America on Sunday.

Excitement and anticipation are building ahead of the further international matches that are set to take this week, and ahead of the resumption of the 2023/24 Premier League season on Saturday 30th March 2024.

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