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6 pleasing partnerships that make the international break worth watching

The international break does actually have its merits if you dig deep enough

You’ve all heard of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

But have you heard of The International Break and the Six Partnerships?

It’s an equally gripping tale about six partnerships who make the international break worth watching. Coming to a TV screen (or illegal stream) near you soon.

This is related to football, we promise

6
This is related to football, we promise

Marco Verratti and Jorginho (Italy)

Me: *Don’t compare them to Xavi and Andres Iniesta. Don’t compare them to Xavi and Andres Iniesta

Inner me: There’s a bit of Xavi and Iniesta in the way Jorginho and Verratti conduct Italy’s midfield orchestra.

The pair constantly look for each other, one-twoing their way up the pitch before releasing an Italian attacker with a pass no one else in the stadium saw coming.

If Roberto Mancini had an Alessandro Del Piero/Christian Vieri/Filippo Inzaghi to call upon, Italy would be unstoppable.

About to put the ref in a tiki-taka carousel

AP:Associated Press
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About to put the ref in a tiki-taka carousel

Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt (The Netherlands)

Question: Is there a more aesthetically pleasing defensive partnership in world football?

Answer: No. No there’s not, and if you attempt to convince us otherwise we’ll assume you’ve been spending too much time in Amsterdam’s coffee shops.

Traditional iconic partnerships- think Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic- normally rely on one bruiser and one ballet dancer, but Van Dijk and De Ligt are a bit of both.

Jasper Cillessen’s sheets have never been so clean.

Count to ten

Getty - Contributor
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Count to ten

Adrien Silva, Bernardo Silva, Rafa Silva and Andre Silva (Portugal)

Not so much the golden generation as the silver generation. Sorry, that was an open goal we just couldn’t miss.

Portugal can these days afford to put four Silvas out on the pitch. Three- Rafa, Bernardo and Adrien- were on the pitch as Portugal beat Poland 3-2, with the latter two scoring.

Andre was left on the bench, as Portugal refused to go full Antiques Roadshow.

It’s only a matter of time…

Silva, meet Silva. Now, where are Silva and Silva?

Getty - Contributor
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Silva, meet Silva. Now, where are Silva and Silva?

Lautaro Martinez and Mauro Icardi (Argentina)

Argentina and Inter go together like peanut butter and gherkins. Never tried it? What are you waiting for?

Hernan Crespo, Javier Zanetti, Diego Milito, Walter Samuel and Gabriel Batistuta are just five iconic Argentines to pull on the black and blue.

Martinez and Icardi still have a way to go to join those ranks, but there’s nothing more pleasing than a nation’s strike partners also turning out for the same club.

In fact, why don’t more clubs follow suit?

Head and Shoulders

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Head and Shoulders

Rodrigo Bentancur and Lucas Torreira (Uruguay)

One is a tall, languid playmaker who waltzes around the pitch having graduated from the school of Diego Maradona and Juan Roman Riquelme at Boca Juniors.

The other is a small, snarling defensive midfielder born in Fray Bentos, a city famous for tinned processed meats products.

Together, Bentancur and Torreira make up one half of Uruguay’s diamond midfield.

Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez might be the ones letting off the fireworks up front, but Bentancur and Torreira are the ones providing the gunpowder.

Two for the price of one

EPA
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Two for the price of one

Leon Bailey and Kyle Butler (Jamaica)

Two players that, as it happens, haven’t won a single cap for Jamaica yet.

Bailey was all set to make is Jamaica debut only to pull out when Butler, his brother, wasn’t called-up by the Reggae Boyz.

Jamaica haven’t got the deepest talent pool and could certainly do with a player of Bailey’s calibre.

But they’re clearly not yet desperate enough to start calling-up players from the second tier of Austrian football.


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