Manchester United are now on an international break and the fans are turning their attention to the matches the national sides are playing. This is the first international break since the World Cup and seeing teams after a big international tournament is always interesting. Who will continue playing well or will any team improve massively after a disappointment in Russia?
This international break is even more interesting with the start of the UEFA Nations League. The new competition has been created in order to decrease the number of friendly matches and increase the number of meaningful clashes that could earn teams money, better FIFA rank and, most importantly, a place at the 2020 UEFA Euro.
On Thursday, this competition started, throughout the four divisions and Manchester United had one player competing in it. It was Paul Pogba, who was in France’s team, in their first match after the World Cup final win. Also, Victor Lindelöf’s Sweden played their friendly match against Austria.
All 90 Minutes For Pogba
The French midfielder played the whole match for the new world champions, as they travelled to Germany. Basically, this was a clash of two previous World Cup winners. However, the match was not all that great as someone would expect. Pogba was part of the starting XI that was pretty much expected. The only difference from a team that Didier Deschamps used during the World Cup was in goal, as Alphonse Areola came instead of Hugo Lloris.
Germany were the better side, though not significantly. They had more shots and more shots on target, as Areola did brilliantly on several occasions to keep a clean-sheet on his France debut. Funnily enough, Areola made his debut in this match, after winning the World Cup with France without a single cap.
Today, Pogba mostly made headlines with his quotes regarding the stay at Manchester United, as he hinted at the possibility of a move away from Old Trafford.
Victor Lindelöf Rested
Manchester United fans will probably be happy to hear Victor Lindelöf did not play for Sweden in an unimportant, meaningless friendly match. Sweden played their first match since their quarter-final loss in Russia and they lost again. This time, it was against Austria, 2-0. Lindelöf stayed on the bench for the entirety of the match.
Reason for that is probably the match against Turkey in Nations League on Monday. Sweden will host Turkey as part of their Division B, group 2 match. Russia is the third team in this group and Sweden will have to battle with these two sides for their place in Division A.
Lindelöf, thus, did not have any minutes spent on the pitch, which could be good for United in terms of his physical condition upon returning to the club. Also, not picking any injuries is also a plus. However, the performances he has been showing in the famous red shirt are not encouraging. He played poorly against Brighton and did not really impress Jose Mourinho at the start of his second season at the club.