I hate international football.
This time around, however, it’s probably come at a good time for Tottenham Hotspur. The senior squad is in a bit of disarray right now, with injuries and suspensions in abundance coming off a couple of poor results against Chelsea and Wolves. The break will give Ange Postecoglou an opportunity to drill his system with fringe players who haven’t been called up by their respective international federations, and hopefully arrest the minor blip of the last few weeks before it has a chance to grow into something bigger.
There’s a couple of notable absentees from international duties this time around, mostly due to the aforementioned injuries. James Maddison was named for England, before pulling out of the squad with an ankle injury; Spurs opted to keep back Destiny Udogie, who has been battling a knock; Mickey van de Ven is still recovering from his hamstring issue; and Richarlison and Ivan Perisic are both making their way back from surgery.
Speaking of recovery, one player who has been called up for international duty is Rodrigo Bentancur. The Uruguayan has only played limited minutes for the Lilywhites thus far as he returns from an extended layoff due to an ACL injury, and the Spurs medical staff will be hoping he isn’t overextended as Uruguay take on two CONMEBOL World Cup Qualification matches. Their first qualifier will be a robust match against rivals Argentina, where there’ll be no love lost there between club teammates, as Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso suit up for the Albiceleste. Argentina also have two qualifiers, the second of which is against Brazil.
The Brazil-Argentina matchup will again carry a Spurs flavor, as everybody’s favorite compilation poster Emerson Royal has been called up for Brazil. He’ll get a chance to impress in another match a few days prior, taking on ex-Spurs teammate Davinson Sanchez with Colombia.
Meanwhile, across the South Atlantic, CAF World Cup Qualification matches are underway. Yves Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr will be representing Mali and Senegal, respectively. Both sides have two matches, with Mali taking on Chad and Central African Republic; and Senegal’s fixtures coming against South Sudan and Togo. Spurs captain Heung-Min Son is the final player involved in World Cup Qualification matches with South Korea: he played 90 minutes in their first match against Singapore, scored a banger of a goal, and looked to injure himself, which is the last thing Spurs need. Their second match is against China next week.
Heading north to Europe, it’s all about Euro qualification. Dejan Kulusevski has already played one match with Sweden, playing 90 minutes in a shock 3-0 loss to Azerbaijan. Their second match is against Estonia. Staying in Scandinavia, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg will be suiting up for Denmark in matches against Slovenia and Northern Ireland.
Carrying on from the halcyon days of Gareth Bale, Spurs have continued their strong Welsh representation. Ben Davies, who has captained the Dragons in recent times, and summer signing Brennan Johnson will both be in action as Wales take on Armenia and Turkey. Lastly, Guglielmo Vicario efforts to continue his good club form with Italy may have been stymied somewhat as reports emerge of him battling illness. That will possibly rule him out of their first match against North Macedonia, but he will hope to be available for next week’s clash with Ukraine.
Here’s hoping that our players come through this with a clean bill of health - and that the break will give the Spurs squad the shot in the arm it needs to bounce back and build further under Ange Postecoglou.
I still hate international football.
Spurs International Call-ups:
- Rodrigo Bentancur (Uruguay) - vs. Argentina, Bolivia - WCQ CONMEBOL
- Giovani Lo Celso, Cristian Romero (Argentina) - vs. Uruguay, Brazil - WCQ CONMEBOL
- Emerson Royal (Brazil) - vs. Colombia, Argentina - WCQ CONMEBOL
- Pape Matar Sarr (Senegal) - vs. South Sudan, Togo - WCQ CAF
- Yves Bissouma (Mali) - vs. Chad, Central African Republic - WCQ CAF
- Heung-Min Son (South Korea) - 5-0 win vs. Singapore (90 mins, 1 goal), China - WCQ AFC
- Dejan Kulusevski (Sweden) - 3-0 loss vs. Azerbaijan (90 mins), Estonia - Euro Qualification
- Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Denmark) - vs. Slovenia, Northern Ireland - Euro Qualification
- Ben Davies, Brennan Johnson (Wales) - vs. Armenia, Turkey - Euro Qualification
- Guglielmo Vicario (Italy) - vs. North Macedonia, Ukraine - Euro Qualification