Republic of Ireland v Latvia and a handful of competitive youth fixtures got the final international break of 2022/23 underway on Wednesday evening but the action starts in earnest on Thursday.
Well over 200 Fantasy Premier League (FPL) players are in action for their countries over the next week, so there’ll be a nervous wait to see if any injuries or illnesses are picked up ahead of Double Gameweek 29.
In this article, we bring you all you need to know about your globe-trotting FPL stars.
ANY LATE RETURNEES?
The good news: there are no international fixtures taking place in the early hours of next Thursday morning, something we occasionally saw in previous Covid-affected seasons.
A number of the Premier League players who are representing countries from South America will actually be contesting friendlies in Africa, Asia or Australia – so while there will still be some long-haul flights back to the UK, there won’t be as many late returns from the Americas.
Here’s a cherry-picked selection of which key non-European countries are playing where and when:
|Country||Players||Matches being played in…|
|Argentina||E. Martinez, Buendia, Buananotte, Mac Allister, Enzo, Alvarez, Perrone, Li. Martinez, Romero||Argentina (Mar 23 + 28)|
|Brazil||Ederson, Antony, Casemiro, Lodi, Royal, Paqueta, J. Gomes||Morocco (Mar 25)|
|Colombia||Duran, D. Sanchez||South Korea/Japan (Mar 24 + 28)|
|Ecuador||Estupinan, Caicedo, Sarmiento||Australia (Mar 24 + 28)|
|Egypt||Salah||Egypt/Malawi (Mar 24 + 28)|
|Jamaica||Bailey, Pinnock, DeCordova-Reid||Mexico (Mar 27)|
|Japan||Mitoma||Japan (Mar 24 + 28)|
|Mexico||Jimenez||Suriname/Mexico (Mar 24 + 27)|
|South Korea||Son||South Korea (Mar 24 + 28)|
|Uruguay||Vina, Pellistri||Japan/South Korea (Mar 24 + 28)|
|USA||Turner, Pulisic, Ream, Robinson, Aaronson, McKennie||Grenada/USA (Mar 25 + 28)|
There is a little bit of confusion as to when Argentina are hosting Curacao in their second friendly of the international break, likely due to the timezone difference.
It has been advertised as kicking off on the midnight of March 27/28 by some outlets but the official Argentina site seems to imply that the game is being contested 24 hours later (ie advertised as March 28, local time), so we might see Alexis Mac Allister (£5.5m) and co in action in the early hours of Wednesday morning. That’s a situation to monitor given that Brighton and Hove Albion are in Double Gameweek 29 action on Saturday afternoon.
Speaking of the Seagulls, they have a trio of Ecuador internationals – including Pervis Estupinan (£4.8m) – who are contesting a double-header in Australia. The second of those fixtures kicks off at 9.30am (UK time) Down Under on Tuesday, so there’s a big trek back for those Albion assets ahead of Gameweek 29.
Kaoru Mitoma (£5.5m), meanwhile, will be representing Japan in his motherland, facing Uruguay and Colombia in friendlies on Friday and Tuesday morning respectively.
Son Heung-min (£11.7m) is also on familiar turf as South Korea face those same two nations in reverse order.
Most of the Premier League players representing African countries, like Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (£12.8m), are in qualifying action for the African Cup of Nations back on their home continent.
Brazil are also in Africa for their one and only fixture of the March international break, facing Morocco in Tangier on Saturday.
Aside from sidelined players (some of them listed below) whose injuries render them unavailable for selection, there are some welcome snubs and rests for a number of key FPL assets over this international fortnight.
Arsenal’s trio of Brazilians, Gabriel Jesus (£7.9m), Gabriel Magalhaes (£5.2m) and Gabriel Martinelli (£6.6m), were overlooked by national team coach Tite for his experimental squad, while Ben White (£4.7m) was also omitted from Gareth Southgate’s squad list.
Other Brazilians not away with their country include Liverpool’s Alisson (£5.4m), Fabinho (£5.2m) and Roberto Firmino (£8.0m) plus Newcastle United’s Bruno Guimaraes (£5.5m).
The Magpies, incidentally, are the Premier League club with the fewest of their players away on international duty.
Gameweek 29 doublers Ollie Watkins (£7.5m), Tyrone Mings (£4.3m), Jason Steele (£3.9m), Solly March (£5.1m), Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.3m) and Jarrod Bowen (£8.0m) also remain with their respective clubs over this fortnight.
WITHDRAWN DUE TO INJURY/ILLNESS
The rest of this article is completely free to read but requires a Fantasy Football Scout user account for access – you can get yours at no cost here.