National teams 18 October 2023, 15:50

Qualifying, goals, firsts... a look back at the October international break

Qualifying, goals, firsts... a look back at the October international break
The second international break of this 2023-2024 season, during which more than twenty Monegasques were involved, has just ended. Between first caps and assists, let's take stock of a break which was rich for our players.

The international break is now finished. 22 players from the first team and the Academy were involved and all will now return to the Principality to prepare for what’s to come, starting with the reception of Metz on Sunday (5:05 p.m.) at the Stade Louis-II. Between first caps, qualifications or even scoring a goal, the majority of our players were able to distinguish themselves and show the full extent of their talents. Time for a recap! 📃

 France reach the Euros, but Switzerland will need to be patient ⏳

Let’s start this overview with the Europe zone where it is now official: Youssouf Fofana and France will take part in Euro 2024. It was in Amsterdam that the Monegasque, who came on four minutes from full time, and the his team punched their ticket against the Netherlands (1-2). Their success was confirmed a few days later during a friendly against Scotland (a 4-1 win), where Youss’ played the last quarter of an hour.

Denis Zakaria’s Switzerland, on the other hand, will still have to wait to punch its ticket to the next continental competition. Remaining on the bench, our Rouge et Blanc midfielder watched helplessly as his team drew against Belarus (3-3). Now second, they will have almost no room for error against Israel, Kosovo and Romania in November.

The Monegasques in Africa are decisive 🥙

In Africa,  the players from the Principality club only played friendly matches, in preparation for the next Africa Cup of Nations. This was particularly the case for Mali’s Mohamed Camara, who started in the two victories against Uganda (1-0) and Saudi Arabia (3-1). It was an opportunity for him to record an assist, the first in his international career.

It was the same for the partnership of  Jakobs and Diatta, who both started as fullbacks with Senegal. Against Cameroon (1-0), a direct competitor for the bigges title in African football, they recorded an encouraging victory. Wilfried Singo, finally, played the entirety of the matches of Ivory Coast against Morocco and South Africa, which produced two draws (1-1). And like his midfield partner, he delivered an assist for Sébastien Haller with a perfect cross.

Balogun scores, Minamino celebrates his return 🍾

We were also in acation across the Atlantic, with Folarin Balogun on the northern side, as he scored his third goal in  six matches, during his team’s convincing win over Ghana (4-0). In South America, qualifying for the next World Cup continued and Guillermo Maripán and Chile (our defender played 45 minutes) had a mixed record with a victory against Peru (2-0) and a defeat to Venezuela (0-3).

In Asia, Japan continued its preparations for its own continental competition, scheduled for January. Back with the national team, Takumi Minamino helped the Samurai Blue to continue their run of victories, with an impressive result against first Canada (4-1) and then Tunisia (2-0), notably being involved in his team’s fourth goal against the former.

France’s U-21s impress!  ⚽

The pros were strong, but so were the team’s youngsters. The French Espoirs notably had their work cut out for them with two qualifying matches for Euro 2025. And their record was perfect as had two wins against Bosnia (1-2) then an incredible 9-0 against Cyprus in a match where both Maghnes Akliouche and Chrislain Matsima scored.

As for Soungoutou Magassa, he had the honor of winning his first cape during the first match. For their part, the Belgian U-21s of Eliot Matazo, who started in each match, passed this international break without difficulty by beating Malta (0-2) and then Hungary (0-1) a few days later.

The Academy is in action as well! 👶

The other French youth teams were also in action, but in friendly matches. If Malamine Efekele, Edan Diop and the U20s failed to gain the upper hand over Paris FC (1-1), it was a total success for Saïmon Bouabré, Aladji Bamba and Joan Tincres with the U18s. In a pair of matches against Switzerland, during which the players from La Diagonale all played, the French youngsters won in the first match (3-0), before doing it again in the second (1-0).

The U19s played a friendly tournament in Spain. Led by the Monegasque duo of Eliesse Ben Seghir, and Mayssam Benama, they had mixed results, including a defeat on penalties against Australia (1-1, 2-1 on penalties), a victory against Belgium (2-0), in which our number 7 scored a goal, and finally a draw against Switzerland (3-3).