The international break is always rough on club fans, as it represents a long, lllloooonnnngggg time without football you care about. However, if you’re a Fiorentina fan, there’s definitely a bright side, and it’s that your favorite Viola players may get a win or even a goal, both of which have been tough to come by in Florence of late. We’ve got a complete list of all the kids who are (or have been at one point) registered with the senior team; there are plenty of other youth internationals in the Primavera, but there’s only so long this article can get.
Despite a distressing return of just 2 league goals this year and a visible loss of form, Giovanni Simeone will suit up for la Albiceleste in a pair of friendlies against Mexico along with Germán Pezzella, who’s perhaps the most in-form centerback Argentina has right now. The first match will be played on Friday, 16 November 2018, in Cordoba; the second will be Tuesday, 20 November 2018, in Mendoza. Given the unusual setup, manager Lionel Scaloni is likely to experiment quite a bit, which means that Cholito should have some chances to work with Lionel Messi despite the presence of Gonzalo Higuaín and Sergio Agüero. Perhaps that will be enough to get him untracked and back on the scorer’s sheet, which would make a big difference to a floundering Fiorentina. Pezzella will probably anchor the defense in one match and watch the other from the bench.
Although he’s struggling at least as much as Simeone, Marko Pjaca has gotten the nod for some red-letter Nations League clashes. First up is a lethal-looking Spain in Zagreb on Thursday, 15 November 2018. Then it’s a trip to Wembley for England on Sunday, 18 November 2018. As they’re absent the talismanic Mario Mandžukić, the Vatreni will rely very heavily on the wing threats provided by Ivan Perišić and Ante Rebić; given his recent displays, it’s hard to imagine manager Zlatko Dalić moving Pjaca ahead of either in the pecking order, but the Viola man could see some minutes off the bench. Given the quality of the opposition and the talent elsewhere available, though, it’s hard to see this being the moment that Marko busts out of his slump.
Both Federico Chiesa and Cristiano Biraghi will maintain their spots in Roberto Mancini’s Azzurri rebuild. The former has been tapped to start in the Nations League match against Portugal at the San Siro on Saturday, 17 November 2018, while the latter is certainly in the running to get a shot on the left flank as well, as rightback Mattia de Sciglio and out-of-form Emerson Palmieri provide his only competition. For the subsequent friendly against the USA on Tuesday, 20 November 2018, it’s likely that they’ll start from the bench as Mancini tests out some newer faces; Fede, despite being the youngest player in the attack, has the 3rd-most caps of the group.
It’s no surprise that Mladen Krstajić has called Nikola Milenković up for a pair of Nations League clashes in Belgrade; the first is against regional rivals Montenegro on Saturday, 17 November 2018, followed by a tilt with Lithuania on Tuesday, 20 November 2018. Despite having just 8 caps for the Eagles, the 21-year-old has firmly established his spot in Krstajić’s backline and will likely play all 180 minutes of these two matches, although that shouldn’t compromise his availability for the Derby dell’Appennino.
Despite scanty appearances at club level, David Hancko will join up with the Falcons for a pair of Nations League clashes: first against Ukraine on Friday, 16 November 2018, and then at Czechia on Monday, 19 November 2018. As the closest thing to a natural leftback on the roster, he’s got a good chance of playing significant minutes, and should at the very least add to his 2 senior caps. Since he’s been so conspicuously absent on matchday, we’ll be watching with great interest, as he’s been blocked from the pitch by Biraghi’s super form. We still think that Hancko is pure class, though, and may even have a future in the center of defense.
Edimilson Fernandes has to like his chances to add to his 3 caps for the Rossocrociati, who take on Qatar in a friendly on Wednesday, 14 November 2018 before a Nations League fixture against Belgium on Sunday, 18 November 2018. Fernandes is probably third- or fourth-choice in the engine room of manager Vladimir Petković’s engine room, but should, at the very least, get a chance to strut his stuff against the hosts of the next World Cup. It’s tough to imagine him leapfrogging Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, Atalanta’s Remo Freuler, and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria for a significant role, but learning how to grind out matches with a tough group of players can only improve his standing in Stefano Pioli’s eyes.
Alban Lafont has gotten the call for Bernard Diomède’s side again and will have the chance to add to his 4 appearances with the little Blues in a friendly against Switzerland on Friday, 16 November 2018. The Ouagadougou-born goalkeeper needs to beat out Troyes prospect Yehvann Diouf, but we’re pretty confident that it’ll be Alban between the sticks come matchday. It might be nice for him to see some new faces and hang out with some old friends after an uneven spell for Fiorentina, so let’s hope that a strong showing sees him return to work in Tuscany fully refreshed.
Three Viola loanees have earned the call for Paolo Nicolato’s squad: GK Michele Cerofolini (currently at Cosenza), LB Luca Ranieri (Foggia), and CF Gabriele Gori (Foggia) are all on the roster for a pair of matches against top European opposition. First up is Germany on Thursday, 15 November 2018; then it’s a trip to the Netherlands on Tuesday, 20 November 2018. Cerofolini should have the inside track against Atalanta Primavera goalie Marco Carnesecchi by benefit of his being a full professional. Ranieri’s in an interesting spot: with two other leftbacks in Manchester United’s Luca Ercolani and PEC Zwolle’s Alessandro Tripaldelli also in the side, he could see time at centerback; he’s impressed on the right of a back three for the Satanelli in recent weeks. Gori, on the other hand, will probably be second fiddle to Andrea Pinamonti, competing with Gianluca Scamacca and Marco Olivieri for primary backup duties; given his unproductive season in Serie B thus far, nobody would complain if he were relegated to a bench role for these next two.
In perhaps the least surprising of these blurbs, Jan Suchopárek has called Martin Graiciar. The striker hasn’t featured for the Viola this year, but has 10 appearances and 3 goals for the Czechs. You won’t find very many people who don’t think that the hitman is the best player in the U19s, and he should see significant action in the 3(!) U19 Euro qualifiers: first up is Luxembourg on Wednesday, 14 November 2018; then it’s Macedonia on Saturday, 17 November 2018; and finally an away fixture against Croatia on Tuesday, 20 November 2018. A goal or two would certainly help the teenage striker find his feet at club level and possibly challenge Dušan Vlahović as Cholito’s backup.
Speaking of Dušan Vlahović, the striker will represent the young Eagles in Euro qualifiers against Kazakhstan on Wednesday, 14 November 2018; then against Northern Ireland on Saturday, 17 November 2018; and will wrap up his tour with a trip to Poland on Tuesday, 20 November 2018. As the key man and the captain of the team, manager Nenad Sakić will expect him to add to his single goal at U19 level. Fiorentina fans will be hoping for the same, as it’d be nice to see the hulking teenager score a couple of times to demonstrate that he’s not short on confidence despite his lack of playing time as Simeone’s backup.
Simone Ghidotti will have the chance to add to his single cap at this level in friendlies against Hungary (Friday, 16 November 2018) and Slovakia (Monday, 19 November 2018). His competition between the sticks is Alessandro Russo of Genoa. The Viola youngster should get at least 90 minutes between those two matches, considering that he’s been training and occasionally sitting on the bench with the senior side.
Marco Benassi is back out of the Italy setup, although he’s probably on Mancini’s shortlist if any of the current midfielders don’t work out.
Bryan Dabo has surprisingly been left out of Burkina Faso’s AFCON qualifier against Angola; it’s hard to say that any of the players who made it are way ahead on talent, so we can only assume that Perestroika’s playing time at the club level is to blame.
Kevin Diks has aged out of contention for the Dutch U21s and is quite a ways from featuring for the Oranje at senior level, so we can’t really call this one a snub, but it’s at least worth noting.
Bartłomiej Drągowski picked up a knock with the Polish U21s and is thus out of commission for them. If healthy, he probably would have started both their matches. He got his first senior call-up during the last international break—although he stayed glued to the bench—so he’s clearly a big part of Poland’s plans going forward. We’ll keep an eye out for further injury news and update you when possible.
Jordan Veretout’s profile is undeniably rising, but he’s bound to be well down the list in a star-studded France midfield. That said, if he can continue to improve over the course of the season, he could well be rewarded with a senior debut with les Bleus.
Rafik Zekhnini rather surprisingly hasn’t gotten the opportunity to add to his 5 caps with the Norway U21s. Given his solid form with Twente, you’d think he’d be a shoo-in, but I guess this gives him that much more motivation.