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International Recap: Star Foxes playing around the world

A busy international break saw many of Leicester’s stars participate in competition for their national teams.

Wales v Moldova - 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

Leicester fans have become accustomed to having more than one game each week this season. It’s been a luxury as there’s always more action around the corner. This weekend, however, was an unwelcome change of pace.

With nearly two weeks between games, it is a lull that all supporters begrudgingly suffered through. Still, there was lots of international action to tide them over - though it’s admittedly less exciting than watching the Fearless Foxes take the field.

Leicester’s stars, though, were scattered around the globe, proudly representing their home nations.

Perhaps the most relevant to Leicester supporters was Jamie Vardy who was called up by interim England manager, Gareth Southgate. Unfortunately, Vardy was a scarcely used substitute in just one of England’s two World Cup Qualifying matches over the break - a dull 2-0 win over Malta and an equally lifeless 0-0 draw with Slovenia.

Slovenia v England - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

He wasn’t the only Fox (kind of) in action however. Shinji Okazaki played a lively 75 minutes for Japan in a 2-1 win over Iraq in qualifiers. But in their next match - a 1-1 draw with Australia - he sat on the bench for the full 90 minutes.

Japan v Iraq - 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
Shinji doing Shinji things
Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

On the youth scene, Demarai Gray had himself a wonderful weekend. Playing for the England U21s, he bagged a 6th minute goal against Kazakhstan in a match that would finish 1-0 and clinch the Three Lions’ spot in next summer’s U21s European Championships.

After playing the full 90 in his first match of the weekend, Gray was limited to a 17-minute cameo in his side’s 5-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

For those same matches, Ben Chilwell was forced to sit out with what he referred to as a minor injury.

Elsewhere, Andy King took part in two World Cup Qualifying draws for Wales; 2-2 with Austria and 1-1 with Georgia. He played the full 90 against Austria and 61 minutes against Georgia.

In the process, he tied a club record for most international caps (39) while a member of the Foxes.

Two other Leicester players, Bartosz Kapustka and Kasper Schmeichel, played against each other in World Cup Qualifying. Well, their teams did at least.

When Poland played against Denmark, the match finished as a 3-2 win for Poland despite Kasper Schmeichel’s best efforts in goal. Kapustka did not play in the match.

He did play in Poland’s next match - albeit just for the final 20 minutes. The match was tightly contested though, finishing 2-1 on a 95th-minute winner by Robert Lewandowski, so his contributions were not without value.

Schmeichel, too, played in another game over the weekend. His Denmark squad suffered another defeat, this time at the hands of Montenegro by a score of 1-0.

In Africa, Daniel Amartey, Jeff Schlupp, Ahmed Musa, Islam Slimani, and Riyad Marrez all participated in World Cup Qualifiers.

Musa was a late sub for the Nigeria Super Eagles, coming on in the 83rd minute of a 2-1 win over Zambia.

For Ghana, both Schlupp and Amartey played important roles over the weekend.

In their first match against Uganda, Amartey played the full 90 and Schlupp came on in the 78th minute. The match would end in a scoreless draw.

Ghana followed this up with a friendly against South Africa that ended 1-1. Schlupp did not play this time, but Amartey played the entire match yet again.

Finally, Leicester stars Slimani and Mahrez were essential pieces in Algeria’s 1-1 draw with Cameroon. Riyad’s 7th minute corner resulted in the team’s only goal. He would go on to be subbed in the 88th minute, while Slimani played the full 90.

The match could have significant implications for many of the Foxes’ stars, as Algeria is in the same qualifying group as Ahmed Musa’s Nigeria.