Friday's international round-up: Sabitzer stars for Austria
Marcel Sabitzer was among seven Manchester United players who played for their countries in Friday’s round of international fixtures, as he scored twice while captaining Austria to an impressive win.
Erik ten Hag’s side have a break from the busy club schedule this weekend, as our players compete in the final round of international fixtures before the end of the Premier League season.
And while a fair share of our players are away from Carrington, they are keeping busy across the globe, with several involved in the international matches that took place on Friday.
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The United defender was given one last chance to say his goodbyes ahead of Les Bleus' clash with the Netherlands.
Sabitzer grabbed the headlines from a United perspective, as he impressed for Austria in a 4-1 win against Azerbaijan in Euro 2024 qualifying.
The midfielder, who joined the Reds on loan from Bayern Munich in January, opened the scoring for his nation in the first half, before curling home a wonderful free-kick just minutes after the half-time restart.
He later provided an assist for Christoph Baumgartner to score the fourth and final of Austria’s goals on the night, just moments before his withdrawal on 74 minutes.
Elsewhere, there was a heroes’ welcome for Lisandro Martinez and Argentina in Buenos Aires, who returned to their homeland for a first home fixture since lifting the World Cup earlier in the season.
Lionel Scaloni’s team received a typically vociferous reception in front of an 83,000-crowd at El Monumental, home of River Plate. Licha was a half-time substitute for his nation, replacing Nicolas Otamendi, as Argentina scored twice in the second half to beat Panama 2-0 in their international friendly.
Back on European soil, there was another warm welcome on the international scene for a fellow Reds defender, as Raphael Varane bid farewell to France supporters at Stade de France. Varane announced his retirement from international football last month and was reunited with supporters ahead of Les Bleus’ Euro 2024 qualifying tie against the Netherlands.
It proved to be an emphatic 4-0 win for Didier Deschamps's team, who raced into an early three-goal lead before Wout Weghorst was brought on for the visitors, replacing Kenneth Taylor in the 33rd minute. Tyrell Malacia was introduced much later, for the final three minutes in Paris.
Victor Lindelof was also involved in Euro 2024 qualifying ties on Friday. The Sweden captain was at the heart of his nation’s defence against Belgium, but they were beaten 3-0, courtesy of a hat-trick from former United striker Romelu Lukaku. Anthony Elanga was an unused substitute in Stockholm.
Meanwhile, Facundo Pellistri earned an 11th international cap with Uruguay, starting in their international friendly away to Japan. He played 69 minutes for the South American nation in a 1-1 draw, in front of a 62,000-strong crowd.
There was also United representation in two AFCON qualifiers on Friday, involving three of our Reds who are currently out on loan.
Eric Bailly, who has spent the campaign with Marseille in France, was at the core of the Ivory Coast backline for their comfortable win against Comoros. Bailly played 86 minutes, keeping a clean sheet in his time on the pitch, before the score ended 3-1. Amad – the subject of praise from Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray recently, where he is currently out on loan – remained an unused substitute.
Hannibal is another young Red enjoying the season, out on loan with Birmingham City, and he impressed for Tunisia in their 3-0 win against Libya, as a key creative hub in his 83 minutes on the pitch.
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Our midfielder speaks about being named skipper for his national team's friendly against Morocco.
INTERNATIONAL REDS: WHAT'S COMING UP ON SATURDAY?
Scott McTominay could feature for Scotland in their Euro 2024 qualifying opener at home to Cyprus. That fixture is a 14:00 GMT kick-off at Hampden Park.
Later in the day, our Brazilian Reds face Morocco in a friendly, which gets under way at 22:00 GMT. Casemiro is set to lead his nation out for the first time since being named Brazil captain, while fellow Reds Alex Telles - currently on loan at Sevilla - and Antony could also feature.