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International break review: Pukki, Aarons and Idah impress

16 October 2019

Five members of Norwich City's senior squad featured for their countries over the international break, with Teemu Pukki, Max Aarons and Adam Idah standing out.

Pukki played 90 minutes in both of Finland's UEFA Euro 2020 Championship qualifying games. He cut an isolated figure in Saturday's surprise 4-1 away defeat to Bosnia and Herzegovina, but more than made amends on home soil on Tuesday night.

Finland gave themselves a strong advantage with a five-point gap over third-placed Armenia in Group J, who they beat 3-0 at Veritas Stadion in Turku. That was in no small part down to the Norwich City centre-forward, who scored twice to give his country real hope of qualifying for their first ever major tournament.

His two goals were almost identical, running through on goal before chipping the ball over the 'keeper and into the net in the 61st and 88th minutes, after Fredrik Jensen had opened the scoring in the first-half.

As for the Three Lions' Under-21s team, they were on the wrong end of a late comeback from Slovenia Under-21s in Friday night's 2-2 friendly draw in Central Europe. Aarons played the first 45 minutes before being taken off at half-time as a precautionary measure.

On Tuesday night, Aarons was fit to play the entirety of England's emphatic 5-1 win at home to Austria Under-21s. Playing in his hometown of Milton Keynes, Aarons got an assist for Callum Hudson-Odoi's opening goal with a precise and powerful cross from the right wing. 

Aidy Boothroyd's side produced a dominant display, the 5-1 win putting them level on points with Austria and with a game in hand after three matches in Group C.

Alongside Teemu Pukki, the other City player to get maximum minutes over the international break was Republic of Ireland Under-21s' Idah, who featured in their 0-0 draw at home to Italy Under-21s on Thursday as well as their 1-0 defeat away to Iceland Under-21s on Tuesday.

Whilst Idah didn't get on the scoresheet in either game, he did put in a particularly impressive performance in that resolute draw with Italy, demonstrating admirable work-rate, as shown by the following tweet! 

As for Northern Ireland, they beat Czech Republic 3-2 on Monday night, with Michael McGovern donning the number one shirt for his country. The Irish looked to be in cruise control when they went into the half-time break with a 3-0 lead, courtesy of goals from Paddy McNair and Jonny Evans, but two goals in as many minutes from Vladimir Darida and Alex Kral in the second half gave Czech Republic a chance of scalping a draw. Nevertheless, Northern Ireland held on for a less-than-routine win.

Finally, Josip Drmic made a brief cameo in Switzerland's 1-0 defeat in Denmark on Saturday, coming on in the 88th minute to replace Ricardo Rodriguez. The Swiss beat Republic of Ireland 2-0 on Tuesday, with Drmic an unused substitute, as that pair of results sees them sit third in Group D of the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship qualifiers, one point behind Denmark and Republic of Ireland.


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