Club football will take a hiatus for the next two weeks as the footballing world gears up for the first international break of 2023.
World Champion Argentina, led by Lionel Messi, will play its first match since the World Cup win on December 18 last year, as the Albiceleste gears up to face Panama and Curacao on March 24 while Italy will take on England in the Euro 2024 qualifiers.
Here’s a list of players who will miss playing for their nation in the March international break:
Erling Haaland - Norway:
Erling Haaland will miss Norway’s matches against Spain and Georgia of the EURO Qualifiers after sustaining an injury, the nation’s football association said earlier this week.
Haaland suffered a groin injury after Manchester City’s 6-0 demolition against Burnley in the FA Cup quarterfinal on Saturday. The 22-year-old scored a hat-trick before being subbed off in the 63rd minute.
Haaland has been in the form of his life under Pep Guardiola, scoring 39 goals in 35 appearances across competitions for Manchester City. He has six hat-tricks under his belt this season, including a five-goal game against RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League round-of-16.
Marcus Rashford - England:
England will be without Marcus Rashford for Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine after the in-form Manchester United forward picked up a knock in Sunday’s FA Cup victory over Fulham.
England plays European champions Italy in Naples on Thursday and Ukraine at Wembley on Sunday in the Three Lions’ first games since the World Cup.
Takehiro Tomiyasu - Japan:
Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu will miss the rest of the season after having surgery for a knee injury, the Premier League club confirmed.
The 24-year-old has pulled from Japan’s forthcoming friendly matches against Uruguay and Colombia at home. Tomiyasu came off nine minutes into Arsenal’s Europa League last-16 encounter with Portuguese side Sporting after he slipped awkwardly during a challenge and hurt his knee.
Raheem Sterling - England:
Gareth Southgate had left out Raheem Sterling out of England squad as a precaution for his hamstring discomfort.
However, the injury is not severe. “Sterling’s not fit. We would have selected him had he been available.” said Southgate ahead of the first match against Italy.
Jamal Musiala - Germany:
Germany forward Jamal Musiala was ruled out of upcoming friendlies against Peru and Belgium after the Bayern Munich winger suffered a hamstring injury.
“We all hoped that Jamal would be fit, because he has unique qualities. That’s why it’s a shame for everyone that he won’t be with us.” said Germany manager Hansi Flick.
Darwin Nunez - Uruguay:
Darwin Nunez was initially drafted Uruguay’s squad for the friendlies against Japan and South Korea. But an unspecified injury during training, forced the Liverpool forward to pull out of the two matches.
Nunez boasts eight goals and three assists across 20 Premier League appearances so far this season, but there are speculations that he could face an extended spell on the sidelines following this injury.
Other notable players who will miss the international friendlies:
- Frenkie de Jong - Netherlands (vs France)
- Pepe - Portugal
- Mason Mount - England
- Wesley Fofana - France
- William Saliba - France
- Nick Pope - England
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