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Internationals | Moutinho overtakes Figo’s Portugal appearance tally

Joao Moutinho became the second most capped player in Portugal’s history after surpassing Luis Figo’s tally in Saturday’s Nations League defeat to France.

Wolves’ midfield maestro came off the bench in the 72nd minute of the narrow 1-0 loss to earn his 128th national team appearance, and almost notched a stunning equaliser had it not been for Hugo Lloris’ excellent stop.

Having begun his international career as an 18-year-old, during a 2-0 friendly win against Egypt in August 2005, Moutinho has enjoyed a stellar career for his country, and now sits second in Portugal’s appearance records, behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s 169, with seven goals to his name.

Despite the result not going in Portugal’s favour, another Wolves star could have picked up the man of the match award for his performance, as Rui Patricio put in a formidable display between the sticks to keep the scoreline down to just the one and give his side a chance of staying in the game.

Wolves teammates Pedro Neto – fresh off a debut goal against Andorra on Wednesday, Ruben Neves and Nelson Semedo were unused substitutes for Fernando Santos’ outfit.

Even a win in Tuesday’s final group stage game against Croatia will not be enough for Moutinho and co to have the chance of retaining their Nations League title, with Saturday’s win ensuring France would be the side progressing to next October’s finals.

Raul Jimenez continued his goalscoring antics for Mexico on Saturday evening, during a hard-fought friendly against South Korea in Wiener Neustadt, Austria.

Having seen his side fall behind after 20 minutes, Jimenez was doing everything he could to get his side back into the match, and was to be the man to score the equaliser midway through the second-half when he was found, unmarked in the box to tap home from a matter of yards.

Mexico would go on to win the contest 3-2, setting them up well for another friendly fixture on Tuesday against Japan at the home of Sturm Graz. Another player whose country was in friendly action in Austria was Owen Otasowie, with the defender being an unused substitute for the USA in their 6-2 win against Panama.

Also in action at the weekend was Adama Traore, who came off the bench in the second-half to help Spain rescue a draw in their Nations League tie with Switzerland.

Traore could have a chance to start for his country on Tuesday as Spain face a crucial final group game against Germany in Seville, with the winner of that match progressing to the finals next year, while a draw would not be enough for the Spaniards.

Morocco and their captain Romain Saiss faced an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Central African Republic on Friday night, with the Wolves defender playing at the heart of the defence in a 4-1 victory in Rabat. The two sides will go head-to-head once again on Tuesday afternoon. 

The only Wolves player in international action on Sunday was Vitinha, who played the full 90 minutes of Portugal under-21’s 2-1 win over Cyprus in a Euro U21 qualifying tie. Portugal’s final qualifying match comes against Netherlands on Wednesday.

Leander Dendoncker was left out of the Belgium squad for their 2-0 Nations League win over England on Sunday night. The Red Devils could qualify for the finals in their last group stage match, but need at least a draw in their winner-takes-all battle with Denmark in Brussels on Wednesday.

Defender Willy Boly will have an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier to contend with on Tuesday, as he looks to make his second appearance for the Ivory Coast as they take on Madagascar in Antananarivo.

Wolves internationals November fixtures

Patricio, Semedo, Neves, Moutinho, Neto (Portugal): UEFA Nations League group stages

  • 7-0 vs Andorra (H) Friendly
  • 0-1 vs France (H)
  • Tuesday 17th November | vs Croatia (A) | 7.45pm

Traore (Spain): UEFA Nations League group stages

  • 1-1 vs Netherlands (A) Friendly
  • 1-1 vs Switzerland (A)
  • Tuesday 17th November | vs Germany (H) | 7.45pm

Dendoncker (Belgium): UEFA Nations League group stages

  • 2-1 vs Switzerland (H) Friendly
  • 2-0 vs England (H)
  • Wednesday 18th November | vs Denmark (H) | 7.45pm

Saiss (Morocco): Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

  • 4-1 vs Central African Republic (H)
  • Tuesday 17th November | vs Central African Republic (A) | 1pm

Boly (Ivory Coast): Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

  • 2-1 vs Madagascar (H)
  • Tuesday 17th November | vs Madagascar (A) | 1pm

Jimenez (Mexico): Friendlies

  • 3-2 vs South Korea (N)
  • Tuesday 17th November | vs Japan (N) | 8pm

Otasowie (USA): Friendlies

  • 0-0 vs Wales (A)
  • 6-2 vs Panama (N)

Vitinha (Portugal U21): UEFA Euro U21 qualifying

  • 3-0 vs Belarus (H)
  • 2-1 vs Cyprus (H)
  • Wednesday 18th November | vs Netherlands (H) | 7.30pm

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