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Your guide to Manchester United’s international break

Rojo vs. Darmian! Sanchez vs. Lindelof! It’s all happening.

Belgium v Greece - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Let us give thanks for the international break, a blessed pause in this strange season. A caesura in the persistent litany of “is Jose Mourinho a dangerous weirdo or are Manchester United’s players all rubbish or is it both or is it neither and oh they’re in second but oh they’re really boring and oh! Sevilla! damn it”.

Some football that absolutely doesn’t matter. Hooray for that.

Anyway, a number of United players have escaped the toxic fug above Old Trafford and set off for sunnier climes. Ashley Young is back in the England reckoning, along with Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford. They’ll be taking on the Netherlands and Italy, in fixtures that probably looked more intriguing before both opponents failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Daley Blind is injured and so isn’t in the Dutch squad, but United loanee Timothy Fosu-Mensah has been called up and may face either England or Portugal. Meanwhile Matteo Darmian is in the Italy squad, who take on England and Argentina.

Speaking of Argentina, Marcos Rojo and Sergio Romero are in the squad to face the mighty Darmian. They will then follow this up with a friendly against Spain.

Spain! David de Gea! But not Ander Herrera, who is injured, or Juan Mata, who is about 273rd in the “diminutive Spanish playmaker” pecking order. They play Argentina, as noted, as well as Morocco.

Speaking of Morocco, notes tBB, desperately attempting to keep this chain alive, they’re not just playing Spain this week. Oh no. They’re also playing Serbia, who have in their midfield a certain Nemanja Matić, of Manchester. And ... and ... no, there’s no other link. Damn it.

All the juggling balls fall to the floor. The crowd boos. TBB shuffles offstage in shame.

Still, we gave it a shot. The other, non-overlapping fixtures are: Eric Bailly and the Cote d’Ivoire are taking on Togo and Moldova, Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini are in Belgium’s squad to face Saudi Arabia, and Alexis Sánchez and Victor Lindelöf will face off as Chile take on Sweden. Chile then have a game against Denmark. And Scott McTominay may make his Scotland debut against Costa Rica or Hungary.

Oh, and Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial are in the France squad for games against Colombia and Russia. We suspect they will both be delighted to escape from the oversight of their defensive, negative, grouchy manager, and take comfort in the stewardship of ... wait, Didier Deschamps? Oh dear.

Full fixtures (times GMT/BST)

Friday 23 March

Serbia v Morocco 19:30
Argentina v Italy 19:45
Germany v Spain 19:45
Netherlands v England 19:45
Scotland v Costa Rica 19:45
France v Colombia 20:00

Saturday 24 March

Sweden v Chile 17:00
Togo v Ivory Coast 19:00

Sunday night — clocks change in the UK

Monday 26 March

Portugal v Netherlands 19:30

Tuesday 27 March

Russia v France 16:50
Denmark v Chile 19:00
Ivory Coast v Moldova 19:00
Hungary v Scotland 19:00
Belgium v Saudi Arabia 19:45
England v Italy 20:00
Nigeria v Serbia 20:00
Spain v Argentina 20:30