Just three days after the Premier League’s craziest day, a host of Sunday’s stars were involved in international duty on Wednesday night – and success was very much varied.
In a cluster of friendlies across Europe, more than 35 players from the English top-flight were involved for their countries, with world champions France the shining light in a thrashing of Ukraine in Paris.
But with 15 Premier League players involved in Portugal’s contest against Spain, Virgil van Dijk captaining Holland versus Mexico and a Chelsea outcast starting for Germany, there are opportunities for some which are not available for their clubs as the international break got underway.
Wolves winger Adama Traore came on to make his Spain debut versus Portugal on Wednesday
Rui Patricio, in goal for Portugal, was excellent throughout the goalless stalemate in Lisbon
KEPA AND PATRICIO STAR IN PORTUGAL-SPAIN STALEMATE
Ousted as Chelsea No 1 by the signing of Edouard Mendy, his confidence shredded following a spate of mistakes, Spain goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was handed a lifeline by his national team manager on Wednesday.
The out-of-form 26-year-old started against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in Lisbon and despite the hosts flirting with the crossbar on two occasions, a first clean sheet since July 14 does Kepa’s chances of a club recall no harm at all.
In fact, in a star-studded contest which involved a grand total of 15 Premier League players, it was the keepers who stole the show, with Kepa’s opposite number Rui Patricio of Wolves pulling off a string of fine saves in an entertaining goalless stalemate.
For Kepa though, after a nightmare few months in-between the sticks, the faith showed in him by Luis Enrique will be of extreme comfort.
Mind you, he rode his luck. Though the Chelsea keeper looked assured under the high ball and dominated his penalty area astutely, he was soundly beaten twice only for his crossbar to save him.
Kepa Arrizabalaga kept an impressive clean sheet for Spain against Portugal on Wednesday
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo started for the hosts but could not score against Spain
Joao Felix somehow missed with the goal at his mercy in the last minute of the contest