International Reds: Games to look out for
Tuesday’s match against Atletico Madrid was Manchester United’s last for nearly three weeks, with the first team now not in action again until Leicester City visit Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday 2 April.
Liverpool’s progress in the Emirates FA Cup means that our fixture against Jurgen Klopp’s side was moved from Sunday 20 April, and United now have a gap before the March international break begins.
There are a host of international friendlies for nations in Europe and Africa, with some also involved in the World Cup play-offs.
In South America, teams are still catching up on qualifiers for Qatar, after the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted fixtures in 2020 and 2021.
Many United players have been called up to represent their country for the upcoming break, including Anthony Elanga’s first-ever call-up to the Sweden senior squad.
Here is a comprehensive breakdown of which Reds have been selected by their countries, and which fixtures to keep an eye on…
WHICH UNITED PLAYERS ARE AWAY?
So far, 18 Reds have been selected to represent their countries.
Anthony Elanga and Victor Lindelof are both in the Sweden squad to face Czech Republic in the World Cup play-offs, with the winners setting up a clash against Poland to determine who will proceed to the finals in Qatar later this year.
Portugal are also tasked with qualifying for the winter World Cup via a similar route, and have to overcome Turkey on Thursday night to set up a tie with European champions Italy or North Macedonia to determine who competes on the big stage in December. United trio Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot have all been called up.
Dylan Levitt will also be taking part in a World Cup Qualifier, as he has been selected in the Wales squad to face Austria next Thursday. Should Wales progress, they will set up a fixture against either Scotland or Ukraine, but this tie has been postponed until June due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Due to the postponement of their match, the Scottish Football Association have agreed to host a friendly with Poland on Thursday 24 March, with £10 from every ticket sold going to UNICEF's Ukraine emergency fund. United midfielder Scott McTominay is in the Scotland squad for this match.
Elsewhere in Europe, France duo Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane have been called up for Les Bleus for friendlies against Ivory Coast and South Africa. The first of those fixtures is one to keep an eye on, as United team-mate Eric Bailly has been named in the Ivory Coast squad for the upcoming friendlies.
Bailly will also take on England during the international break, and he will lock horns with two more club colleagues as Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw have both been selected in Gareth Southgate’s squad for this fixture and the friendly against Switzerland earlier in the week.
David De Gea was not named in Luis Enrique's Spain selection for upcoming friendlies against Albania and Iceland.
Hannibal has been chosen to represent Tunisia for their upcoming World Cup play-off against Mali. The tie is set to take place across two legs, on Friday 25 March and Tuesday 29 March, to decide who will take a spot in Qatar.
Brazil have already qualified for the World Cup, and Fred and Alex Telles have been called up for the upcoming fixtures against Chile and Bolivia. If Brazil win both matches, or if Argentina slip up, the Selecao will be confirmed as group winners.
Alejandro Garnacho received a shock call up to the provisional Argentina squad at the beginning of the month, having not featured at senior level yet. With Argentina having already qualified for Qatar, the 17-year-old has been retained for the clashes against Venezuela or Ecuador next week.
Uruguay currently occupy fourth place in the group, with Peru only one point below them. Peru are Uruguay’s first opponents of the international break and they travel to Chile, who are only three points below them, just four days later to conclude their World Cup qualifying campaign. Given that only the top four qualify automatically for Qatar, Uruguay duo Facundo Pellestri and Edinson Cavani will be aiming for maximum points and qualification when they represent their country next week.
Finally, Under-23s midfielder Zidane Iqbal is currently with the Iraq squad again as they meet Zambia, United Arab Emirates and Syria.
UPCOMING INTERNATIONAL FIXTURES
THURSDAY 24 MARCH
Iraq v UAE (17:00 GMT)
Portugal v Turkey (19:45 GMT)
Sweden v Czech Republic (19:45 GMT)
Wales v Austria (19:45 GMT)
Scotland v Poland (19:45 GMT)
Brazil v Chile (23:30 GMT)
Uruguay v Peru (23:30 GMT)
FRIDAY 25 MARCH
Mali v Tunisia (17:00 GMT)
France v Ivory Coast (20:15 GMT)
Argentina v Venezuela (23:30 GMT)
SATURDAY 26 MARCH
England v Switzerland(17:30 GMT)
TUESDAY 29 MARCH
Syria v Iraq (17:00 BST)
England v Ivory Coast (19:45 BST)
France v South Africa (20:15 BST)
Tunisia v Mali (20:30 BST)
WEDNESDAY 30 MARCH
Bolivia v Brazil (00:30 BST)
Chile v Uruguay (00:30 BST)
Ecuador v Argentina (00:30 BST)