International round-up: Paul Pogba dazzles, Timothy Fosu-Mensah makes debut

by Leo Nieboer

Sergio Romero

Had very little to do as Argentina dominated the ball against Uruguay. Almost made a fatal error to hand Edison Cavani a chance to score after weakly parrying a shot by Alvaro Gonzalez in the striker’s direction, but can stake claim to yet another clean sheet.

Paul Pogba

This was the Frenchman’s third 4-0 win of the season and, just like against West Ham United and Swansea City, he absolutely ran the show against a tepid Netherlands side. He was majestic on the ball, dictating play at will with a series of precise passes and splendid turns, acting as Dick Advocaat’s primary tormentor all evening.

There are some games when it seems like Pogba is simply playing a different game to everybody else and this was undoubtedly one of them.

Daley Blind

Struggled to cope with the effervescent threat posed by Kingsley Coman and Antonio Griezmann, with the pair pulling the Netherland’s left hand side all over the place. Handled the ball well and always looked to move play forward but found himself outpaced and exposed on an all too regular basis. A difficult evening for the Dutchman.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah

A truly superb debut from the teenager considering the strength of the opposition and lack of desire from his own side. Deployed at right-back, Fosu-Mensah – currently on loan at Crystal Palace – militantly followed Layvin Kurzawa everywhere and prevented the Frenchman from feeding Olivier Giroud in the first half.

He continued to battle after half time, making a series of important tackles and interceptions, but by the end France were in complete control. Only the teenager can hold his head up high following what was an embarrassingly languid display from Advocaat’s side.

Romelu Lukaku

The opponents may have been Gibraltar, but that won’t matter much to Lukaku. He drew a blank last weekend but was back in lethal goalscoring form in what was something of a training exercise for Belgium as they ran out 9-0 winners. And they were the exact kind of finishes you’d want to see from your main striker: a close range header, a clever tap-in, and a penalty.

Make no mistake, Lukaku has entered the goalscoring groove following his move to Manchester United with minimal fuss.

Antonio Valencia

Battled hard as always, making a series of important tackles and surging runs in a more advanced role to the one he plays under Jose Mourinho, but couldn’t have much of an impact going forward as Brazil dominated Ecuador from start to finish, claiming a 2-0 win in Porto Alegre.

Victor Lindelof

This was a chance for the Swede, yet to make a Premier League appearance for United, to gain some much needed confidence with his national side, but a physical Bulgaria side had other ideas.

Lindelof notably struggled for much positional assurance whatsoever as Bulgaria took the direct route and scored a couple of headers before half time, grabbing the winner late on courtesy of a lack of organisation at the back from the visitors. Another shaky, uncertain display from Mourinho’s new signing.

 

Latest Top Stories...