Wednesday, 1 April 2015

International break: Reds round up

The Premier League may have taken a ten day break for the latest round of international fixtures but there was no rest for many of United's stars who were in action for their countries across the globe.

England continued their unbeaten run since the World Cup debacle with a 4-0 win over Lithuania in Euro 2016 qualifying and then a 1-1 draw with under strength Italy on Tuesday.

That match featured four Old Trafford stars as Phil Jones and Wayne Rooney played the full 90 minutes, but Chris Smalling's night was cut short as he felt unwell and was replaced by Michael Carrick shortly before half-time.

Jones, Carrick and Rooney also all played against Lithuania in a match that saw the latter edge to within two goals of Sir Bobby Charlton's goalscoring record. 

Elsewhere, Marouane Fellaini continued his fine run of form with a crucial winner for Belgium away in Israel in a European Championship qualifier. 

Fellaini netted twice in Belgium's 5-0 win over Cyprus last week and now has four goals in five games for club and country having also netted against Tottenham.

The rest of United's international stars were engaged only in friendlies on Tuesday evening, with two matches actually seeing Reds up against each other.

Marcos Rojo and Angel Di Maria got the better of team-mate Antonio Valencia as Argentina beat Ecuador 2-1 in New Jersey.

Rojo played the full 90 minutes at left back whilst Di Maria was given a 79 minute run-out playing behind main striker Sergio Aguero.

In the evening's other United head-to-head, Daley Blind and David De Gea started for the Netherlands and Spain respectively in a rematch of the two sides memorable World Cup meeting last summer.

The Dutch did not emerge 5-1 winners here, though, but still proved too strong and emerged
2-0 victors in Amsterdam.

Blind has featured at left-back for United of late but was restored to midfield by his manager Guus Hiddink as he played 73 minutes before being replaced by Jonathan de Guzman.

De Gea, meanwhile, played the full 90 and made several excellent stops as he picked up the fourth senior cap of his international career. 

On loan United striker Radamel Falcao equalled Colombia's national goalscoring record with his 24th strike for his country.

Falcao showed his class with a brace in Thursday's 6-0 win over Bahrain before he notched his third in two games with a penalty as Colombia defeated Kuwait 3-1. 

Congratulations are in order for 19 year old United defender Paddy McNair, who made his Northern Ireland debut in his side's 1-0 friendly defeat  in Scotland last week.


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