It was an intense and grilling four weeks of club football action, after the inauguration of the UEFA Nations League. And it’s now time for another international break.
Managers and players have already voiced their disdain for pointless friendlies and UEFA Nations League football. But there are still a few interesting ties to look out for. So we’ve done our best to try and list them all!
Here are four games you need to watch in this international break :
Croatia vs England – 12:15 pm,12th October
This fixture takes us back by almost three months when Croatia and England battled it out in Russia for a place in the World Cup final. Kevin Trippier gave the Three Lions the lead with an impeccable free-kick, but the Blazers hit back late in the game to send them packing. And as interesting as it was back then, the latest encounter too carries as many expectations.
Both these teams went down to Spain in the Nations League opener last month, especially Croatia, who were battered 6-0 in Elche – their worst defeat in history. So these sides have a point to prove to get themselves back on track.
The World Cup runners-up play hosts this time as Stadion Rujevica will be staging the top billing affair and both Croatia and England would be gunning for maximum points.
Spain vs England – 12:15 pm, 15th October
In a repeat of last month’s tie at Wembley, Spain host England in Seville. Spain endured an awful World Cup after sacking Julen Lopetegui, b appointing Fernando Hierro, who then resigned following their early exit as Luis Enrique was appointed. However they’ve put that to one side and are looking like the Spain of old. They were confident in London before putting six past Croatia, showing again the embarrassment of riches they boast.
What makes good sides ‘great’ is how consistent you can be with such a patchy schedule and against tough opposition, La Roja know this is a chance to make a statement. England also have a statement to make. Was the World Cup a fluke or have they really changed?
Gareth Southgate was rewarded with a new contract and now the hard work begins. The core of the squad remains the same. But with some exciting young players coming through, challenging the likes of Spain, Belgium and France for Euro 2020 will be the target. Southgate hinted before his squad announcement last week that “performances matter more than results” and that “Nations League relegation doesn’t matter” which is fine. But beating Spain on home soil – after they beat you – would really cement the squad’s credentials.
France vs Germany – 12:15 pm, 16th October
The European top shouts, Germany and France inaugurated the UEFA Nations League with a whimper when these sides played a dour goalless stalemate in Munich last month. Now they meet again for the second leg, this time in Paris, where you can normally expect fireworks.
France saw off Netherlands 2-1 in another group fixture last month to make a positive homecoming as the world champions. But this time they can expect a tougher contest against the fallen giants. Germany are still reeling from a catastrophic year. They have won only thrice in 9 games with two important fixtures now coming their way.
Manager Joachim Loew has vowed to rebuild the Germany team. Here’s a chance to put that resolve to the test.
Brazil vs Argentina – 11:30 pm, 16th October
Just a friendly, but that’s reason enough to tune into this year’s Superclasico de las Americas. It will take place in the neutral surroundings of Saudi Arabia. Both Brazil and Argentina would be spending their international break in the Gulf region with another fixture lined-up before this. But they would be all charged up for this starry affair.
Messi-less Argentina are also in a period of transition under Lionel Scaloni. He has selected an exciting squad for their upcoming friendlies. Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala – marginalised under the previous regime have been called up. Cristian Pavón, Lautaro Martínez and Giovanni Simeone are also in the Argentina squad. Santiago Ascacibar and Giovani Lo Celso have also been rewarded for their impressive club form at Stuttgart and Real Betis respectively.
Neither of these teams had a memorable World Cup, but have embarked on the road to redemption ahead of the 2019 Copa America with some big victories last month. This game, however, would give a real assessment of which directions the teams are headed in.
Do check out : All you need to know about UEFA Nations League