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International round-up: summing up the action from the break

All the action from our Spurs squad through (yet another) international break

South Korea v China - FIFA World Cup Asian 2nd Qualifier Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images

I hate international football.

But there’s been a few Lilywhites in action, and that’s better than no football; so, what have Tottenham Hotspurs’ internationals been up to?

Heung-Min Son had a stormer of an international break. After scoring a banger and scaring us all by appearing injured against Singapore, the South Korean captain was a target of the Chinese press ahead of their [China & South Korea] World Cup Qualification AFC clash. He responded to their jibes by tearing the Chinese team apart, scoring two and assisting one in a convincing win. The drama didn’t stop there, however, as fights broke out in the stand after Chinese fans clashed with spectators wearing Tottenham kits. Never a dull moment, huh?

The craziness continued in South America, with CONMEBOL World Cup Qualification well underway. The fixtures had a Spurs flavor initially, with Rodrigo Bentancur’s Uruguay taking on Argentina, with Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso both in the Albiceleste squad. Uruguay scored somewhat of a surprise 2-0 victory over the World Cup champions, with Bentancur making an appearance off the bench. The central midfielder then started in Uruguay’s win over Bolivia, with 86 minutes that made me feel extremely nervous. It was suggested in the masthead Slack that maybe Spurs were involved in the decisions around ramping up Bentancur’s minutes, but that would require an assumption of rationality and logic from a CONMEBOL side (for which they’re not exactly known).

But speaking of rationality and logic... Romero and Lo Celso’s second fixture, against Brazil, was delayed due to fighting in the stands. Argentina won the match, with Giovani Lo Celso earning a start and creating the solitary goal of the match, hopefully putting himself in good stead to start the match against Aston Villa. Romero was his usual aggressive self, winning a clean sheet and slagging off the Brazilian fans in an abrasive tweet that was true to type. Emerson Royal, his Spurs teammate, would surely have been thrilled with that, playing 90 minutes on the losing side in which was a poor break for Brazil, where they also lost against Colombia.

There was success meanwhile for Tottenham’s two African internationals in their World Cup Qualification campaigns. Pape Matar Sarr scored his first goal for Senegal in a 4-0 rout of South Sudan with a lovely strike from the top of the 18-yard box, before picking up a point against Togo; while Yves Bissouma’s Mali also picked up four points across two matches with a win against Chad and a draw against Central African Republic, with the Spurs defensive midfielder only seeing limited minutes.

Finally, in Europe there were a number of the senior Spurs squad in action. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg started for Denmark in their win over Slovenia, before coming off the bench in a loss to Northern Ireland with Euro Qualification already assured. Spurs’ Welsh contingent, however, weren’t so lucky, only managing draws against Armenia and Turkey with both Ben Davies and Brennan Johnson playing significant minutes. They now head to play-offs in order to still qualify for the Euros. Sweden, who were already eliminated, slumped to a 3-0 loss against Azerbaijan before restoring some pride against Estonia with a win over Estonia, Dejan Kulusevski going the distance in both. Guglielmo Vicario was Spurs’ final senior international on duty, but illness prevented him from making an appearance in Italy’s crushing of North Macedonia, before he was on bench duty in a goalless draw against Ukraine, doing just enough to qualify for the Euros without having to go to play-offs.

It seems like across the internationals, there is a clean bill of health for Spurs’ senior team, with the only mild concerns being Vicario’s illness and Son’s aforementioned knock. There was, however, not great news for one of Spurs’ young defensive prospects, with Ashley Phillips picking up an injury while playing for the England U19 side. There were a few hoping that with the defensive options available to Ange Postecoglou that the young talent might get an opportunity, but instead his chance may have to wait as Spurs’ cadre of center backs grows ever thinner.

I hate international football.

Spurs International Appearances:

  • Heung-Min Son (90 mins, 1 goal; 90 mins, 2 goals & 1 assist): South Korea 5-0 Singapore, China 0-3 South Korea - WCQ AFC
  • Giovani Lo Celso (10 mins, sub; 70 mins, 1 assist) & Cristian Romero (90 mins x 2): Argentina 0-2 Uruguay, Brazil 0-1 Argentina - WCQ CONMEBOL
  • Rodrigo Bentancur (28 mins, sub; 86 mins): Argentina 0-2 Uruguay, Uruguay 3-0 Bolivia - WCQ CONMEBOL
  • Emerson Royal (90 mins x 2): Colombia 2-1 Brazil, Brazil 0-1 Argentina - WCQ CONMEBOL
  • Pape Matar Sarr (63 mins, 1 goal; 74 mins): Senegal 4-0 South Sudan, Togo 0-0 Senegal - WCQ CAF
  • Yves Bissouma (unused substitute; 62 mins): Mali 3-1 Chad, Mali 1-1 Central African Republic - WCQ CAF
  • Guglielmo Vicario (not in squad; unused substitute): Italy 5-2 North Macedonia, Ukraine 0-0 Italy - Euro Qualification
  • Ben Davies (90 mins x 2) & Brennan Johnson (40 mins, sub; 90 mins): Armenia 1-1 Wales, Wales 1-1 Turkey - Euro Qualification
  • Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (90 mins; 29 mins, sub): Denmark 2-1 Slovenia, Northern Ireland 2-0 Denmark - Euro Qualification
  • Dejan Kulusevski (90 mins x 2): Azerbaijan 3-0 Sweden, Sweden 2-0 Estonia - Euro Qualification