Say bye bye to club football this week, as teams from all over the world face each other in international friendlies, European qualifiers and World Cup qualifiers.
EURO 2020 QUALIFIERS
The top two teams from each of the 10 groups will qualify for the final tournament, to be played in the summer of 2020. This will be the first time that 12 cities from 12 different countries will be hosting the UEFA Euro Championship.
WATCH OUT FOR
Iceland vs France
Iceland, Turkey and France are giving each other a tough time in Group H to secure the top two places. All the teams in the group have already played six of their 10 group matches, and with four games still in hand, everyone wants to secure the place as early as possible.
With Turkey and France having 15 points each, the French side have Iceland in their way toward three important points, as Turkey play Albania and are likely to take three points too. They managed to beat the World Cup winners 2-0 in their group stage clash, but since then, France have won their last three games to regain their touch.
Iceland lost to Albania 2-4 last month after having beaten them previously, as well as Turkey and Moldova, in earlier group games. In their last meeting, France beat Iceland 4-0, and with all their players playing in the top leagues of Europe, they have a greater chance of winning the game.
Norway vs Spain
Spain hold the top spot in Group F and are already seven points clear of second-placed Sweden, who have 11 points. They will be facing Norway this week, who currently have nine points and are placed fourth in the group. The fight is for the second spot as Romania have acquired third with 10 points.
While neither Spain and Norway have lost any of their five games, Spain have won all their matches whereas Norway won just two and drew the others. Last time both the teams played each other, Spain dominated possession and took 26 shots, compared to a mere four by their opponents. The score line though did not reflect their domination, as Sergio Ramos scored a Panenka from the spot only for Josh King to level scores at 1-1.
This time around, Luis Enrique’s Spain will have all their chances to experiment, while still keeping their unbeaten run intact.
WATCH OUT FOR
Germany vs Argentina
Germany and Argentina first met after the 2014 FIFA World Cup final in a friendly game, where the South Americans beat Die Mannschaft 4-2 to heal their wounds after a disheartening defeat at football’s biggest stage. Both the teams are set to face each other again this week at the Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund.
Ahead of their UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers group match against Estonia, Germany will be looking to make an impact against one of the world’s best teams in an international friendly. They already have the top spot in Group C with 12 points, with Northern Ireland trailing them only on goal difference.
Argentina lost to Brazil 0-2 in the Copa America semi-finals in July but managed to secure third place after beating Chile 2-1. They played a goalless draw against the same opponents last month, before thrashing Mexico 4-0 in a friendly match without their star player Lionel Messi. Lautaro Martinez starred in the victory as he completed his hat-trick in the first half.
Even though Germany have won two of their last three matches, including a huge 8-0 win against Estonia, their 2-4 defeat against Netherlands raised some issues. The Argentinian youngsters have mixed it up nicely so far without Messi and pose a big threat to the mighty Germans.
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Feature Image Courtesy: AFP/ Daniel Mihailescu