Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Interlull Saturday: Rice, Ramsdale, Kiwior, Zinchenko

Morning all.

It’s a very quiet Interlull Saturday so this is likely to be a very short blog. Games are happening. You’ll all be delighted to know that Martin Odegaard played 86 minutes of Norway’s 2-1 friendly defeat to the Czech Republic. Erling Haaland played 75 minutes, so Norway’s coach owes us 11 minutes just to make things fair.

David Raya played 45 minutes for Spain in a 1-0 defeat to Colombia, while on Thursday evening Jakub Kiwior played the full 90 for Poland in a Euro 2024 qualifier. They beat Estonia 5-1 (Karl Hein in goal for them), which means they’ll face Wales in a playoff final in Cardiff  – that game takes place on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, a late win for Oleksandr Zinchenko’s Ukraine over Sead Kolasinac’s Bosnia and Herzegovina means they’re also in a playoff final. They’re gonna play Iceland in Poland, also on Tuesday night.

Today, there’ll be no Bukayo Saka for England after his withdrawal to focus on his spicy-sauce career, but Declan Rice and Aaron Ramsdale remain part of Gareth Southgate’s squad. No doubt Rice will play 1034 minutes of the 90 minutes, leaving him exhausted as he chases around trying to make up for the fact he’s been paired in midfield with Jordan Henderson, a man whose legs are so far gone they could send his torso a postcard saying ‘Wish you were here’.

Ramsdale probably won’t play because Southgate prefers to give minutes to Jordan Pickford and his T-Rex arms, but let’s see. France play Germany in a friendly, and it’s likely Kai Havertz will start up front, but he won’t have to face William Saliba from the start because Didier Deschamps prefers other players who aren’t as good. A bit like Gareth Southgate choosing Henderson or Harry Maguire over literally anyone on earth. International managers are hard to explain.

Meanwhile, Leandro Trossard is in Dublin as Belgium face the Republic of Ireland at Lansdowne Road. It looks like thousands of tickets are still available for that one, for some reason.

Beyond that not much happening. There’s a training video which might be vaguely interesting if you’re into that kind of thing, but if not, I’m sorry – there’s nothing going on worth talking about.

So, it’s spring cleaning weekend here in this house. We spent ages yesterday clearing out the shed, so much dust, and there’s a lot more to do today. I also have to paint the banister on the stairs. I’ve never painted a banister before, so this is a new experience. I’m sure it will be thoroughly satisfying.

Whatever you get up to today, have fun. Till tomorrow.

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