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International Magpie Roundup: Friday, September 23rd

Three games... only, one didn’t matter!

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Italy v England: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 3 Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

The last international break before the 2022 Qatar World Cup has arrived. It sucks because that means there is no Magpie football going, but it also does not suck, because that means there is Magpie football just around the corner, and oh, that also means that there are some International Magpies worth writing about!

Anyway, here’s a recap of all that went on Friday, September 23rd, with more updates to come in the following days as games keep getting played.

Italy v England: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 3 Photo by Eddie Keogh - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Kieran Trippier and Nick Pope (England)

Match: ENG vs Italia (UEFA Nations League)

Minute of silence for the relegated Three Lions...

Alright, that was an atrocious performance. As simple as that. England is, in theory, one of the favorite nations to lift the World Cup this winter after their runner-up finish in EURO 2020, but here we are.

Italy—a nation that will not feature in Qatar—defeated the lads by a score of 1-0 by way of Giacomo Raspadori’s single goal in the 68th minute. Kieran Trippier might have been good to have on the pitch in order to prevent offensive damage by the Italians, but he never touched the grass on Friday after not making the starting XI nor getting in as a sub either.

Nick Pope, on the other hand, started for England above Aaron Ramsdale and Dean Henderson after Jordan Pickford was left off the squad with an injury. Pope wasn’t bad but he wasn’t great either. SofaScore handed him a grade of 6.7, tied for worst-second among three other England internationals yesterday and only above the putrid 6.5 assigned to Kyle Walker.

Pope made a couple of saves, both of them from inside the box, and completed 17 of the 26 passes he attempted (65%) on the day—though only two of 10 long balls were deemed successful passes. Day to forget for everyone involved with Gareth Southgate’s side after losing a contest that confirmed the relegation of England to the second tier of the UEFA Nations League.

The Three Lions will face Germany in two days with nothing to lose but a lot to win—at least in terms of building some solid chem ahead of the WC with this upcoming game being the last one in their preparation schedule.

FBL-WC-2022-FRIENDLY-PAR-UAE Photo by JAKUB SUKUP/AFP via Getty Images

Miguel Almirón (Paraguay)

Match: PAR vs United Arab Emirates (International Friendly)

Fantastic news for Miggy, who started another game for his nation of Paraguay and helped his team defeat the UAE in a fairly easy game for the South Americans. The two-time Paraguay Football of the Year earned a full 90-minute sheet in his 45th game with the senior squad after debuting at this level all the way back in Sept. 2015.

Almirón couldn't find the net nor dish out the goalscoring assist but he was a steady threat for the UAE including putting the defensive line of the Arabs under constant pressure and leading to dangerous chances by their teammates. It took 85 minutes for Paraguay to truly break the lock, but Fabián Balbuena scored the lone goal of the game.

Balbuena earned Paraguay a victory in the Wiener Neustadt (Austria) as head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto and the rest of the Paraguayan squad will try to finish their pre-WC run with another W next Tuesday aginst Morocco.

Brazil Training Session Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Bruno (Brazil)

Match: BRA vs Ghana (International Friendly)

You know the news by now (h/t Chris Waugh from The Athletic). Bruno missed yesterday’s victory over Ghana in which teammate Neymar was sublime and finished the contest with two assists to his name.

It was a day for PSG players, as Neymar’s two assists joined the goalscoring effort by Marquinhos (also from PSG) with a header off a corner kick by Ney. Richarlison added a couple more goals to make 3-0 when all was said and done. Ghana was tamed to just one single shot on target and a low 36% possession while Brazil nearly doubled the amount of passes completed by the African nation, with an unbalanced 622-358 in favor of the South Americans.

Brazil faces Tunisia next Tuesday in the Parc des Princes (Paris, FR) and Bruno is expected to be fit and available for coach Tite to use. We’ll see if he starts—or even if he plays at all—but Eddie Howe will surely be watching it all develop while on the edge of his couch hoping Bruno and all of the other Magpies involved in the international break games come back home without picking any more injuries.