National teams 27 March 2024, 00:57

A trophy, a debut and more: A look back at the March international break

A trophy, a debut and more: A look back at the March international break
The first international break of 2024 involved around twenty Monegasques, has come to an end. Between a trophy, a first cap and several decisive players, here is the outcome of this gathering in March for our Rouge et Blanc internationals.

The first international break of 2024 is now over. Ligue 1 is back this week, at the same time as the Monegasques who left for international duty, to prepare for their trip to Metz this Saturday (kick-off 5 p.m.). It’s an opportunity to take stock of their performances across high-stakes matches, the Nations League, and a first cap… here is everything you need to take away from the March international break! Recap 🔙

A second Nations League title for Balogun 🏆

And what better place to start than a title for Folarin Balogun with Team USA! Qualified for the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Nations League after a win over Trinidad and Tobago -where the Monegasque striker had provided an assist -, the Americans headed to AT&T Stadium in Texas to face Jamaica, in order to obtain their ticket to the final of the competition.

A starter, Balo’ played 63 minutes during this decisive match, which wasn’t settled until extra time (3-1). In the final, Mexico then stood between the “Stars and Stripes” and the trophy. The Monegasque striker came on during the second period, a match ultimately won 2-0. It was a great accomplishment for him and Team USA, one year after having won the previous edition of the CONCACAF Nations League. Bravo Balo’ 🏆

A first cap for Ben Seghir 🇲🇦

He has just joined for the first time the Atlas Lions! A part of Walid Regragui’s squad for this March round of matches, Eliesse Ben Seghir made his debut with Morocco, in two friendly matches. And the attacking midfielder trained at the Academy was able to shine as he started against Angola (1-0, 88 minutes of play), and against Mauritania (0-0, 64 minutes). Congratulations Eliesse! 👏

Playing with Morocco’s U-20 team, Yanis Benchaouch faced the USA and was key to keeping a clean sheet (1-0). Additionally, Ilies Belmokhtar  started and scored for Morocco’s U-16s against Nigeria (in a 3-2 win).

Fofana scores again with France 🇫🇷

He is now a regular for his country. After France’s misstep against Germany in which he participated at the end of the match (0-2, 20 minutes of play), Youssouf Fofana shone against Chile at the Stade Vélodrome. Author of a good 90 minutes, the Rouge et Blanc number 19 participated in the French victory (3-2) by scoring a goal from outside the area, after doing the same in the last break.

Switzerland and Denis Zakaria for their part conceded a draw against Denmark (0-0), before winning in Ireland (0-1 – 105 minutes played for our player over the two matches).

Jakobs and Singo got back to work 👏

In Africa, besides Eliesse Ben Seghir, Ismail Jakobs and Wilfried Singo also performed with Senegal and Ivory Coast. The first came on during the last 15 minutes of the match against Gabon and played the entire match against Benin.

The second, who recently was crowned champion of Africa, made two starts against Benin (63 minutes) then against Uruguay (90 minutes). The defender even initiated the first goal of the game, forcing a Uruguayan defender to score an own goal.

Photo: Icon Sport

Taki’ is all but qualified 🇯🇵

On his side, Takumi Minamino and Japan were playing in  qualifying for the 2026 World Cup against North Korea,with a victory for the Samuraï Blue at home (1-0). Since the return leg could not be play, Japan should be assured of finishing at the top of its group in the event of a walkover victory, and would thus move on to the final round of Asian qualification.

Akliouche is decisive with Les Espoirs 🌟

You can’t stop Maghnes Akliouche! Decisive for the club four times since the winter break, the player has also impressed with the national team. Twice a starter against the Ivory Coast then the United States, it was against the latter that he would shine.

The other talent trained at La Diagonale was first to deliver a pass for Rayan Cherki, who won a penalty, converted by Arnaud Kalimuendo (27′, 1-0). Then Maghnes would set up Andy Diouf (79′, 2-0), before Les Bleuets finally conceded a draw in the last minutes (2-2).

In the lower age categories, we found in the U20s Edan Diop and Mamadou Coulibaly. The first played 63 minutes during  a pair of friendly matches against Germany. As for the member of the Elite Group, author of his big debut in Ligue 1 last February, he won his very first caps with France and played 80 minutes in two matches.

The Euros in sight for our Academy youngsters 💎

Two players were also called up with the French U-19s. Mayssam Benama, who played the three matches of the Elite Group in the category (138 minutes), and Lucas Michal (165 minutes), have indeed qualified for the U-19 Euros this summer.

Ditto for the U-17s, Jules Stawiecki and Pape Cabral, who punched their ticket for the U-17 Euros with France. The two Monegasques played the first two matches in their entirety, before being rested in the third match. Note that Pape Cabral scored against Northern Ireland (5-2).

There was less luck, however, for Samuel Nibombé with the Belgium U-17s, as the Diablotins came second in their group with four points, a total unfortunately insufficient to advance.

Rise. Risk. Repeat.