Your complete guide to March's internationals
Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup victory over Fulham was Manchester United’s final match for a fortnight, as we resume our season by travelling to St James’ Park to take on Newcastle United on Sunday 2 April.
In the meantime, several of our players have been called up by their nations and they will be jetting off around the world, as European Championship and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers come to the fore.
Several international friendlies are also scheduled during the break, so which senior Reds are away and when will they be playing?
Here’s your complete guide to the March 2023 international break…
Lisandro Martinez will link up with the World Cup winners, as they prepare for a homecoming parade following their success back in December, while Alejandro Garnacho misses out on the chance of a debut for the Albiceleste, due to his recent ankle-ligament injury. Lionel Scaloni’s side are due to play Panama and Curacao in a couple of friendlies.
Marcel Sabitzer became United’s first-ever Austrian goalscorer during the win over Fulham and the United loanee has been named in Ralf Rangnick’s squad for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Estonia. The Central Europeans are in a tricky-looking group along with Belgium and Sweden, meaning a fast start is needed if they are to match their achievements of 2016 and 2020 and qualify for the finals.
Interim head coach Ramon Menezes has selected something of an experimental squad for the friendly with Morocco, although United trio Antony, Casemiro and Alex Telles – currently on loan at upcoming Europa League opponents Sevilla – are in the 23-man group. Menezes, who also coaches the country’s Under-20s, recently explained that he wanted to give opportunities to new players.
Marcus Rashford has had to withdraw from the Three Lions’ qualifiers with holders Italy and Ukraine, but Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw will be joining up with Gareth Southgate’s squad as England look to safely progress to a fourth consecutive European Championship finals.
Amad has been rewarded for his fine recent form at Sunderland with a recall for the Elephants’ double-header with Comoros. Ivory Coast could secure their place at next year’s AFCON with two wins, having already taken four points from games against Zambia and Lesotho. Eric Bailly, who is on loan at Marseille, will join up with the squad too.
Ronald Koeman has picked Tyrell Malacia and Wout Weghorst for the Oranje’s opening two European Championship qualifiers. The World Cup quarter-finalists take on France in Paris in a mouthwatering clash on Friday, before entertaining Gibraltar the following Monday.
Winners of the Euros in 2016, Portugal are used to being involved at the thick end of major tournaments and Diogo Dalot and Bruno Fernandes will be hoping to help Roberto Martinez’s side qualify for the next finals, in Germany. Liechtenstein and Luxembourg are their opponents during the break, in a group which also contains Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iceland and Slovakia.
After experiencing a first taste of tournament football in over two decades at Euro 2020, Scotland, and Scott McTominay, will want to be involved again. Steve Clarke’s outfit host Cyprus and Spain at Hampden Park, with Norway and Georgia also in the same group.
Anthony Elanga and Victor Lindelof will both be in contention to play in Sweden’s opening qualifiers at home to Belgium and Azerbaijan, while former United forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic could extend his record as the nation’s oldest player, having been recalled by boss Janne Andersson at the age of 41.
The Eagles of Carthage face Libya home and away, in their first fixtures since shocking eventual finalists France at the World Cup. Hannibal, who has made 34 appearances on loan at Birmingham City this season, will join up with the squad for the games in Rades and Benina.
Facundo Pellistri registered a maiden United start at Real Betis last week but he was a first-choice pick for Uruguay at the World Cup. He’s been named in interim coach Marcelo Broli’s squad for upcoming friendlies against Japan and South Korea in the Far East.
DAY-BY-DAY FIXTURES GUIDE
THURSDAY 23 MARCH
Portugal v Liechtenstein (19:45 GMT)
Italy v England (19:45 GMT)
FRIDAY 24 MARCH
Argentina v Panama (00:00 GMT)
Japan v Uruguay (10:30 GMT)
Ivory Coast v Comoros (16:00 GMT)
France v Netherlands (19:45 GMT)
Austria v Azerbaijan (19:45 GMT)
Sweden v Belgium (19:45 GMT)
Tunisia v Libya (20:30 GMT)
SATURDAY 25 MARCH
Scotland v Cyprus (14:00 GMT)
Morocco v Brazil (22:00 GMT)
SUNDAY 26 MARCH
England v Ukraine (17:00 BST)
Luxembourg v Portugal (19:45 BST)
MONDAY 27 MARCH
Netherlands v Gibraltar (19:45 BST)
Austria v Estonia (19:45 BST)
Sweden v Azerbaijan (19:45 BST)
TUESDAY 28 MARCH
Argentina v Curacao (00:00 BST)
South Korea v Uruguay (12:00 BST)
Scotland v Spain (19:45 BST)
Comoros v Ivory Coast (20:00 BST)
Libya v Tunisia (21:00 BST)