International Round-Up

by Daniel Alston

Ramiro Funes Mori picked up his 14th cap for Argentina in their overnight 1-0 victory against Uruguay.

Lionel Messi marked his return from a short-lived international retirement with the only goal of the game to see La Albiceleste leapfrog their opponents to the top of their World Cup qualification group.

The clean sheet for Funes Mori and Co was all the more impressive given they played the entire second half with 10 men following a second yellow card for forward Paulo Dybala.

Elsewhere in South America, new Blues signing Enner Valencia played the full 90 minutes for Ecuador but was unable to prevent a 3-0 defeat to Brazil.

Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas were second-half substitutes as former Everton manager Roberto Martinez took charge of Belgium for the first time against Spain. 

Yet by the time the Toffees pair took the field, Julen Lopetegui’s side had already netted the decisive goals to secure a 2-0 win - both via Manchester City’s David Silva.

Maarten Stekelenburg was an unused substitute as the Netherlands succumbed to a surprise 2-1 defeat at home to Greece in another friendly, while Gerard Deulofeu played the first 49 minutes of Spain Under-21s’ 6-0 victory over San Marino. The winger was withdrawn with the hosts 4-0 ahead.

At youth level, Kieran Dowell played the full 90 minutes as England Under-20s drew 1-1 with Brazil behind closed doors. 

Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who joined Everton from Sheffield United on Wednesday, featured for the final 15 minutes. The two sides will meet again at Aggborough, home of Kidderminster Harriers, on Sunday.

England Under-19s were also in action on Thursday, and it was Blues midfielder Tom Davies who struck the Young Lions’ goal in a 1-1 draw against the Netherlands.

The Academy graduate, England’s man of the match, timed his run into the box to perfection to give his nation the lead before the Dutch levelled late on. 

Fellow Blue Nathan Holland played the opening 80 minutes, while Antony Evans replaced Davies on 61 minutes and impressed for the remainder of the contest.

A penalty shoot-out followed as an exercise, with Keith Downing’s side emerging victorious.

Finally, Morgan Feeney captained England Under-18s to a 2-1 victory against Italy.

The Everton Under-23s defender played the full encounter at Fleetwood, as former Blues Academy coach Neil Dewsnip led his side to a win in this week’s mini-tournament, which also involves a game against Israel on Monday. 

Click here to see which other Everton-related international fixtures are taking place this week.

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