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How Manchester City players including Phil Foden, Ferran Torres fared on international duty

Sports Mole round up which Manchester City players were in action for their respective nations during October's international break.

Pep Guardiola will welcome back the 18 first-team players to his Manchester City side who have been representing their country during October's international break, as well as keeping an eye on three young players currently out on loan.

Seventeen of those players were spread out across Europe, while Riyad Mahrez, Ederson, Gabriel Jesus and Zack Steffen travelled to Africa, South America and Central America respectively.

Here, Sports Mole round up which City players were in action for their respective nations and how they fared on international duty.


England: Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling, John Stones, Kyle Walker

England's John Stones celebrates with Raheem Sterling on October 12, 2021© Reuters

Results:
October 9: Andorra 0-5 England – World Cup qualifier (Estadi Nacional, Andorra la Vella)
October 12: England 1-1 Hungary – World Cup qualifier (Wembley Stadium, London)

John Stones and Phil Foden played the full 90 minutes against Andorra, with the latter laying on an assist for Bukayo Saka's first-half goal and producing a man-of-the-match display for the Three Lions in a deep-lying central midfield role.

Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling were unused substitutes, however Jack Grealish came off the bench for the final 18 minutes and was able to score his first international goal, rounding off a comfortable 5-0 victory for Gareth Southgate's side.

All five City representatives were then named in the starting lineup against Hungary on Tuesday – a new club record for players in the national team; only Arsenal (7) have ever had more players from one club in the same England XI.

Although it was a frustrating night for the Three Lions at Wembley, Stones tapped in his third international goal from a Foden set-piece. The 21-year-old dazzled once again in centre-midfield, as did Grealish on the left-flank.

Walker featured at right-back before Southgate switched to a three-man defence midway through the second half, with the 31-year-old partnering Stones and Tyrone Mings at centre-back. Sterling, meanwhile, struggled to make a real impact against Hungary and was withdraw in the final 15 minutes.


Portugal: Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva

Portugal's Bernardo Silva pictured on September 7, 2021 © Reuters

Results:
October 9: Portugal 3-0 Qatar – Friendly (Estadio Algarve, Almancil)
October 12: Portugal 5-0 Luxembourg – World Cup qualifier (Estadio Algarve, Almancil)

Bernardo Silva carried his brilliant club form to the international stage, as he inspired Portugal to a commanding 5-0 victory in Almancil.

The 27-year-old playmaker won a penalty in the sixth minute, which was scored by Cristiano Ronaldo, and after the Manchester United forward converted his second spot-kick, Silva then set up Bruno Fernandes to score Portugal's third in just the 17th minute.

Silva was replaced in the 80th minute, while Joao Cancelo and Ruben Dias saw out the rest of the game and helped the Selecao keep their third successive clean sheet, though they were rarely tested by Luxembourg throughout the 90 minutes.

Prior to Tuesday's victory, Silva was the only City representative who featured against Qatar, coming off the bench for the final half hour to play on the right flank.


Spain: Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Ferran Torres

Spain's Ferran Torres celebrates scoring their first goal against Italy in the UEFA Nations League on October 6, 2021© Reuters

Results:
October 6: Italy 1-2 Spain – UEFA Nations League semi-finals (San Siro, Milan)
October 10: Spain 1-2 France – UEFA Nations League final (San Siro, Milan)

Ferran Torres starred once again leading the line for Spain, as he scored a first-half brace in their 2-1 victory over Euro 2020 champions Italy, ending their world-record 37-game unbeaten run to reach the Nations League final.

The 21-year-old, who has now netted 12 goals in 21 international appearances, was substituted in the 49th minute as a precaution after picking up a knock, but was fit to start in the final against France.

Aymeric Laporte – who played the full 90 minutes against Italy – was also handed a start against France, as was midfielder Rodri, who had been an unused substitute in the semi-final.

Laporte and former City teammate Eric Garcia were rarely tested by the French attack in the first hour, while Torres looked lively on the right flank and Rodri was able to dictate play with Sergio Busquets from deep. La Roja took the lead through Mikel Oyarzabal in the 64th minute, however World Cup holders France turned the game on its head to give Didier Deschamps' side another major title.


Belgium: Kevin De Bruyne

Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne in action with Italy's Nicolo Barella on October 10, 2021© Reuters

Results:
October 7: Belgium 2-3 France – UEFA Nations League semi-finals (Juventus Stadium, Turin)
October 10: Italy 2-1 Belgium – UEFA Nations League third-place playoff (Juventus Stadium, Turin)

After missing September's international break due to injury, Kevin De Bruyne was called up for this month's Nations League semi-final against France.

The playmaker provided both assists for the goals scored by Yannick Carrasco and Romelu Lukaku, however Roberto Martinez's men let their two-goal lead slip in the second half, meaning the wait for Belgium's golden generation to claim a major trophy goes on.

De Bruyne was then named as a substitute for the Red Devils' third-place playoff against Italy three days later, though he came on for the final half hour to provide a much-needed spark in the final third, laying on the assist for Charles De Ketelaere to score his first international goal four minutes from time.

City's number 17 has now provided 43 assists in 86 international appearances for Belgium, more than any other player for the national team.


Netherlands: Nathan Ake

Netherlands defender Nathan Ake limps off after picking up an injury in November 2020© Reuters

Results:
October 8: Latvia 0-1 Netherlands – World Cup qualifier (Daugava Stadium, Riga)
October 11: Netherlands 6-0 Gibraltar – World Cup qualifier (De Kuip, Rotterdam)

Nathan Ake did not feature for the Netherlands in either of their World Cup qualifiers against Latvia and Gibraltar, with Virgil van Dijk and Stefan de Vrij preferred at the heart of the defence.

The 26-year-old, who did not play in any of September's international matches either, has not worn the famous orange jersey since June 17, when he came on as a substitute against Austria at Euro 2020.


Brazil: Ederson, Gabriel Jesus

Brazil's Gabriel Jesus pictured on October 10, 2021© Reuters

Results:
October 8: Venezuela 1-3 Brazil – World Cup qualifier (Estadio Olimpico de la UCV, Caracas)
October 10: Colombia 0-0 Brazil – World Cup qualifier (Estadio Metropolitano, Barranquilla)
October 15: Brazil vs. Uruguay – World Cup qualifier (Amazonia Arena, Manaus)

While Ederson watched on from the bench against Venezuela, Gabriel Jesus played 77 minutes before being replaced by Antony, who scored Brazil's third in Caracas.

Liverpool's Alisson Becker was chosen between the sticks ahead of Ederson once again against Colombia, while Jesus was handed another start in attack and was replaced again by Antony in the final 20 minutes, as Tite's side struggled to find a breakthrough away from home.

Brazil sit six points clear at the top of the South American qualification standings, and both Ederson and Jesus will be hoping they can force their way into the first XI against Uruguay on Friday.


Algeria: Riyad Mahrez

Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez during the match on August 7, 2021© Reuters

Results:
October 8: Algeria 6-1 Niger – World Cup qualifier (Stade Mustapha Tchaker, Blida)
October 12: Niger 0-4 Algeria – World Cup qualifier (Stade General Seyni Kountche, Niamey)

Mahrez scored a brilliant free-kick just before the half-hour mark to open the scoring against Niger before converting a second-half penalty in a convincing 6-1 drubbing in Blida. The 30-year-old captained his national side and was brought off in the 78th minute.

The winger then played the full 90 minutes in the reverse fixture four days later, bagging a goal and an assist to help Algeria extend their unbeaten run across all competitions to an impressive 31 matches – the longest current run of any nation in world football after Italy's 37-game unbeaten streak came to an end against Spain.

Algeria sit top of their World Cup qualification group with 10 points from four matches, with Mahrez having contributed to six of their 19 goals in the process.


USA: Zack Steffen

USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen pictured on June 3, 2021© Reuters

Results:
October 8: USA 2-0 Jamaica – World Cup qualifier (Q2 Stadium, Texas)
October 10: Panama 1-0 USA – World Cup qualifier (Estadio Rommel Fernandez, Panama City)
October 14: USA vs. Costa Rica – World Cup qualifier (Lower.com Field, Ohio)

Zack Steffen was an unused substitute for USA's victory against Jamaica, however he missed the game against Panama so that he could avoid going into quarantine when returning to England from international duty. Panama is currently on the UK's red list of countries with high rates of coronavirus.

The 26-year-old is, however, hoping to start against Costa Rica on Thursday, which would see him add to his 23 senior caps.


Republic of Ireland: Gavin Bazunu (on loan at Portsmouth)

Republic of Ireland's Gavin Bazunu pictured on March 30, 2021© Reuters

Results:
October 9: Azerbaijan 0-3 Republic of Ireland – World Cup qualifier (Olympic Stadium, Baku)
October 12: Republic of Ireland 4-0 Qatar – Friendly (Aviva Stadium, Dublin)

Nineteen-year-old Gavin Bazunu has been a regular between the sticks for the Republic of Ireland under manager Stephen Kenny and he was handed his seventh international cap in the 3-0 win against Azerbaijan, making five saves and keeping a clean sheet.

However, the Dublin-born goalkeeper – who has also played 10 times for League One outfit Portsmouth this season – was dropped to the bench for their friendly against Qatar, with Liverpool's Caoimhin Kelleher selected ahead of him.


England Under-21s: Cole Palmer, Tommy Doyle (on loan at Hamburg), Taylor Harwood-Bellis (on loan at Anderlecht)

Cole Palmer celebrates scoring for England Under-21s against Kosovo Under-21s on September 7, 2021© Reuters

Results:
October 7: Andorra Under-21 0-1 England Under-21s – Euro 2023 qualifier (Estadi Nacional, Andorra la Vella)

All three City representatives started against Andorra, with Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Tommy Doyle playing the full 90 minutes in only their second appearance for the Under-21's side.

Cole Palmer, meanwhile, who scored in his opening two games for Lee Carsley's side last month, was brought off in the 65th minute, just two minutes before Emile Smith Rowe scored the only goal of the game.

That result has seen the Young Lions move up to third in Group G, five points behind leaders Czech Republic, though they do have a game in hand.


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