Domestic football has been brought to a halt this month with the first international break of the year, a period in which players have flown off across the globe to begin the qualification process for upcoming major tournaments.
For some fans it can be nuisance. A time for twiddling thumbs, finalising your Fantasy Football side and catching up on that box-set you’ve been meaning to watch. For others its a chance to soak in the unique spectacle of international games and for the latter there have been some special strikes to enjoy.
Here are six stunning goals scored during the international break.
The Republic of Ireland began qualification for Euro 2024 with a home defeat, but there will be significantly more positivity from this performance than their most recent qualification campaign. Stephen Kenny’s side fell to a narrow defeat to France in Dublin and but for a wonderful late save from Mike Maignan would have earned a point against the 2018 world champions.
It took another special moment to break the deadlock at the Aviva Stadium, as Benjamin Pavard’s brilliant winner earned Les Bleus three points. France had thrashed the Netherlands 4-0 in their opening fixture, but required a moment of magic from the defender to break Ireland’s resolve.
Se der mole É CAIXA.🙅♂️🔥
QUE CHUTAÇO, meus amigos!
— sportv (@sportv) March 27, 2023
Bukayo Saka is having some season and continued his rich vein of club form in an England shirt this week.
Saka’s spectacular strike helped secure England a 2-0 win over Ukraine at Wembley as the Three Lions began their qualification campaign for Euro 2024 with back-to-back wins over the two teams most expected to challenge them for a place at the finals.
Saka’s goal was his eighth in an England shirt, as he rolled the defender before bending home an unstoppable finish into the far corner. After a career-best goal return for Arsenal so far this season (13), this was further evidence that the 21-year-old can be decisive at the highest level.
— Channel 4 Sport (@C4Sport) March 27, 2023
It was party time for Argentina this week, as the nation’s World Cup winners returned to Buenos Aires to bask in the celebrations of their success in Qatar last winter.
Argentina’s clash with Panama was their first since winning the World Cup and their victorious side soaked in the atmosphere at the Monumental de Nunez Stadium, one which reached fever-pitch as Lionel Messi sealed a 2-0 win late on.
Messi’s fantastic free-kick was his 800th career goal and his 99th for the national side, a trademark strike from the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner as he closes in on a century of goals for Argentina.
Lionel Messi with an incredible free-kick 🇦🇷
We are witnessing greatness once again 🐐
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) March 24, 2023
Bobby Decordova-Reid silenced a large crowd of expectant Mexicans this week as the Fulham forward opened the scoring in Jamaica’s 2-2 draw with Mexico.
The 30-year-old will rarely have hit a football better than this unstoppable effort from distance, as he lashed home a bouncing ball with the outside of his boot from all of 30 yards. Guillermo Ochoa had no chance as the ball flew into the top corner, a goal which handed The Reggae Boyz an early lead in their Concacaf Nations League qualifier at the Azteca Stadium.
Reid – who won the Goal of the Tournament award at the 2021 Gold Cup for a sublime volley against Suriname – has now scored three international goals for Jamaica and added another glorious effort to his collection.
BOBBY DECORDOVA-REID WITH THE GOAL OF A LIFETIME AT THE AZTECA. 🤯
We'll be watching that one for years. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/j40thafb3S
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) March 27, 2023
Kazakhstan produced one of the upsets of the Euro 2024 qualifiers after a comeback win against Denmark on Sunday. Kazakhstan – ranked 115th in the world – fought back from two goals down to beat the Danes 3-2 in a shock result, as Abat Aymbetov headed home a late winner.
Each of the nation’s three goals came inside the final 17 minutes, with Askhat Tagybergen’s audacious effort bringing the host’s level.
Pick that out.
⚠️ Stop what you're doing and watch this golazo from Askhat Tagybergen… 🇰🇿
— UEFA EURO 2024 (@EURO2024) March 26, 2023
Austria began their path towards Euro 2024 with wins over Azerbaijan and Estonia, opening their qualification campaign with a 4-1 thrashing of the former.
Marcel Sabitzer scored twice for the Austrians, opening the scoring with a smart finish inside the area before adding his side’s third with a set-piece.
Sabitzer stepped up to fire a free-kick past Yusif Imanov, having scored his first Manchester United goal during the club’s 3-1 win over Fulham on March 19.
— UEFA EURO 2024 (@EURO2024) March 27, 2023