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A debut and a day to forget: How Arsenal’s stars fared on international duty

The Gunners had plenty of players off playing for their nations

A host of Arsenal players were involved in the first round of international fixtures this week, with Mikel Arteta having lost a massive 16 players off to play for their countries over the break.

Centre back Gabriel Magalhaes was handed his first cap for Brazil against Bolivia, playing 74 minutes as the Selecao eased to a 5-1 victory to kick off their World Cup 2026 qualifying campaign.

Fellow Arsenal pair Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli were not so fortunate though, with Jesus coming on for the final minutes of the encounter and Martinelli remaining an unused substitute.

Takehiro Tomiyasu enjoyed an excellent night at the Volkswagen arena as he helped his side thrash Kai Havertz’s Germany 4-1 in a friendly. Playing as a left-centre back, he kept his Arsenal teammate anonymous as two late goals added gloss to their victory, and piled the pressure on Hansi Flick.

Fellow defender Jakub Kiwior played 90 minutes at left-back as Poland kept their chances of qualifying for EURO2024, which will be hosted by Germany, a massive boost. A 2-0 win over the Faroe Islands keeps them third in their group, but just two points separate them and frontrunning pair Czech Republic and Albania.

Elsewhere, Eddie Nketiah and Aaron Ramsdale had to watch on as teammates Declan Rice and Bukayo Saka were part of an England side that laboured to a 1-1 draw with Ukraine in Wroclaw.

William Saliba also gained another cap as he came off the bench for the final 17 minutes of France’s 2-0 win over the Republic of Ireland, a result that sees them one win away from qualification for next summer’s tournament.

Another side that gave their qualification hopes for EURO2024 a boost was Leandro Trossard’s Belgium side, with the Arsenal man playing 79 minutes on the left side of a midfield three as they edged to a 1-0 win over Azerbaijan.

There was less success for young goalkeeper Karl Hein though, with the 21-year-old making 5 saves for Estonia but still not being able to prevent a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Sweden, a result that effectively ends their qualification chances for next summer.

Martin Odegaard’s Norway side look like outsiders to do so too but managed a 6-0 thrashing of Jordan in a friendly to ease their pain. Arsenal’s captain didn’t contribute a goal or an assist but was removed after an hour in what will be a relief to the Gunners faithful.

Finally, there was no space in the starting XI for loanee goalkeeper David Raya, who was among the substitutes as Spain thrashed Georgia 7-1 to strengthen their claim for a place at EURO2024.

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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