Manchester City’s European contingency earned successful results during the June 2019 international break as they competed in the UEFA Nations League finals and the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
First, the UEFA Nations League. After an entertaining series of fixtures against Switzerland and the Netherlands, Bernardo Silva and Portugal won the inaugural 2018/19 UEFA Nations League. Meanwhile, England defeated Switzerland in a penalty shootout to finish third in the tournament. Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph all featured in the third place play-off whilst John Stones was an unused substitute.
Outside of the UEFA Nations League, several City players participated in the Euro 2020 qualifiers. Oleksandr Zinchenko’s Ukraine defeated Serbia and Luxembourg in Group B. The Zbirna are now six points clear at the top of their group, having played four of their eight qualification matches. Moreover, Ukraine have kept a clean sheet in three of their four games. What will intrigue Manchester City fans, however, is that Zinchenko played in central midfield during these two qualifiers. Based on these performances, perhaps the young Ukrainian can become Fernandinho’s replacement.
Meanwhile, Arijanet Muric featured in goal for Kosovo as they took on Montenegro and Bulgaria. The Dardanians earned an impressive four points from six, and made history with their win against Bulgaria. This result marked Kosovo’s first victory in a qualification match for a major tournament.
Germany also extended their lead in Group C. Manchester City’s Leroy Sané and İlkay Gündoğan featured in both of die Mannschaft’s qualification matches, where the Germans defeated Belarus and Estonia. Sané scored two goals and recorded an assist whilst Gündoğan netted once over these two matches.
Outside of Europe, Algeria and Riyad Mahrez will kick off their campaign in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, which begins this weekend. Algeria were placed in the competition’s Group C, where they will face Kenya, Senegal and Tanzania. The Desert Foxes’ opening match will be on Sunday against the Harambee Stars.
Finally, Manchester City’s South American contingency played a series of friendlies as they prepared for the 2019 Copa América. Brazil will host this year’s tournament, which begins tomorrow.
The 2019 hosts defeated Qatar and Honduras in a pair of international friendlies, where Gabrial Jesus scored three goals over these two games. Fernandinho came on as a substitute in both fixtures, and Ederson started in the match against Qatar. The Seleção will now divert their attention to the Copa América’s Group A, where they will face Bolivia, Venezuela and Peru.
As for Argentina, the White and Sky-Blues defeated Nicaragua in an international friendly. Sergio Agüero and Nicolás Otamendi both started in this match, and they will hope to make an impact in the Copa América for their national team. Argentina were placed in the competition’s Group B, where they will take on Columbia and Paraguay, as well as invited guests Qatar.