Internationals | Vitinha makes U21 Euros’ team of the week

Having put in two dominant displays in the centre of midfield for Portugal under-21s this week, Vitinha has been named as one of the best players in the opening round of UEFA’s European U21 championships.

The Wolves midfielder put in a man of the match performance in his opening game of the group stages as Portugal earned a 1-0 win over Croatia, before another starring role in their two-goal victory over England’s young Lions on Sunday evening.

The successive victories have put Portugal on course for the knockout stages, which will be played in the late May and early June, but Vitinha will be aiming to make it three wins out of three for his country when they face Switzerland on Wednesday evening, with kick-off at 5pm.

Wolves’ only other European-based player who got some minutes under their belt at the weekend was Leander Dendoncker, who was part of the Belgium team who faced the Czech Republic on Saturday.

Having played the full match at the heart of the Belgium midfield, Dendoncker helped his side to a 1-1 draw in their 2022 World Cup qualifying match, which has seen the side joint top of the group E table, level on points with the Czechs.

Dendoncker could make it his third successive international appearance if he is named in the starting 11 for Belgium’s third and final qualification game of this period when they take on Belarus on Tuesday, from 7.45pm.

After playing for their countries in their opening World Cup Qualifiers, Conor Coady, Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho and Pedro Neto were all unused substitutes for England and Portugal in the second of the three group matches against Albania and Serbia respectively.

Coady could be back in England’s team for their fixture against Poland at Wembley on Wednesday night, while Portugal are set to face Luxembourg on Tuesday, with both matches kicking off at 7.45pm.

Outside of Europe, Romain Saiss captained Morocco into the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations as his side earned a goalless draw with Mauritania on Friday evening.

Playing in his usual international role as the left-sided centre-back in a four-man defence, Saiss helped his team to a clean sheet and the vital point they needed to qualify for the main tournament in January 2022.

Willy Boly also qualified for the next year’s competition with the Ivory Coast as they eased to a 3-0 win over Niger on Friday afternoon. A more familiar role on the left of a back three eased Boly back into his third international appearance, having switched his allegiance from his native France last year.

The qualifying group stages for the AFCON come to an end on Tuesday, as Ivory Coast host Ethiopia in Abidjan from 2pm, while Morocco take on Burundi on Rabat at 8pm.

Following a goalscoring start to his international career, Theo Corbeanu will be aiming to repeat that feat when Canada take on the Cayman Islands at 11pm this evening.

Originally due to take place on Sunday night, the game was postponed by a day due to an issue with the pre-match Covid-19 tests taken by the Cayman Islands delegation, which did not meet FIFA requirements.

A delayed flight into Florida where the game is due to be held, meant the Cayman Islands staff and players only had time to take a rapid antigen test, but FIFA requires a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test which has a longer turnaround time. To allow the results of those tests to come back, the game was rearranged for Monday night.

Corbeanu came off the bench on 77 minutes against Bermuda on Friday to make his Canada debut and scored just four minutes later.

Read his post-match thoughts here.

Wolves internationals March fixtures & results

Moutinho, Neves, Neto (Portugal): FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers

  • Wednesday 24th March | 1-0 vs Azerbaijan
  • Saturday 27th March | 2-2 vs Serbia
  • Tuesday 30th March | vs Luxembourg (A) | 7.45pm

Coady (England): FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers

  • Thursday 25th March | 5-0 vs San Marino
  • Sunday 28th March | 2-0 vs Albania
  • Wednesday 31st March | vs Poland (H) | 7.45pm

Dendoncker (Belgium): FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers

  • Wednesday 24th March | 3-1 vs Wales
  • Saturday 27th March | 1-1 vs Czech Republic
  • Tuesday 30th March | vs Belarus (H) | 7.45pm

Saiss (Morocco): Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

  • Friday 26th March | 0-0 vs Mauritania
  • Tuesday 30th March | vs Burundi (H) | 8pm

Boly (Ivory Coast): Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

  • Friday 26th March | 3-0 vs Niger
  • Tuesday 30th March | vs Ethiopia (H) | 2pm

Otasowie (USA): Friendlies

  • Thursday 25th March | 4-1 vs Jamaica
  • Sunday 28th March | vs Northern Ireland (A) | 5.05pm

Vitinha (Portugal U21): UEFA Euro U21 group stages

  • Thursday 25th March | 1-0 vs Croatia
  • Sunday 28th March | 2-0 vs England
  • Wednesday 31st March | vs Switzerland (A) | 5pm

Corbeanu (Canada): FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers

  • Friday 26th March | 5-1 vs Bermuda
  • Monday 29th March | vs Cayman Islands (A) | 11pm

Richards (Ireland U21): Friendly

  • Friday 26th March | 2-1 vs Wales