The majority of the domestic leagues around the world, to some of the fans’ dismay, have been put on hold for the International Break. Although international matches may not hold as much importance as domestic matches, many of the matches can be interesting to follow and some even electrical.
Around the world, matches of large interest to millions of people will take place, and since there are no Premier League matches to preview, here are my five matches from around the world to pay attention to. Making this list was very difficult because of the sheer number of exciting matches being played, but five of them hold important value to the teams playing, starting with 2014 World Cup winners Germany vs World Cup Quarter Finalists Russia in New Jersey.
Germany vs Russia
Normally, one would expect Germany to easily win this, but this time around, it’s really hard to back the Germans. Germany has lost their last two of three matches, including a 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands, who did not even qualify for the World Cup in the summer. In eleven matches, the Germans have only managed one clean sheet, making their defense very vulnerable to Russia’s fiery attacking football.
To make things worse for Germany, they will be without defender Jerome Boateng, goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen, and midfielder Julian Draxler for this clash. Despite this, Germany must win in order to avoid relegation from the top division of the UEFA Nations League. Russia will use Germany’s instability as a chance to break through and gain promotion to the first division from the second, at the cost of Germany’s place.
Russia will be without their captain Artem Dzyuba, but they will still likely follow their attacking plan and place faith in the likes of Denis Cheryshev and Aleksandr Samedov to power Russia to victory.
Prediction: Germany 2-3 Russia
England vs the United States of America
Despite the result of this match, this match will have eyes for another reason: Wayne Rooney’s farewell. The English and Manchester United legend will return to the Three Lions’ shirt for one last time before international retirement against the United States at Wembley Stadium in London.
Along with Rooney’s addition to the England squad, Jadon Sancho, Callum Wilson and Lewis Dunk could get their first caps against the Americans. Defender Kevin Trippier has pulled out of the squad due to injury which could mean a start for Dunk.
As far as the US team goes, Borrusia Dortmund forward Christian Pulisic has returned to the team after missing six international matches. Romain Gall could also be in line for a start, while Antonee Robinson is out due to injury. Jonathan Klinsmann, son of former US coach Jurgen Klinsmann, has also been included in the squad.
Although the US team is stronger than before the World Cup, England are is brilliant form. England’s form, combined with a stronger squad and home playing conditions, should make England favorites to win.
Prediction: England 3-1 United States of America
Argentina vs Mexico
Although one would expect the outcome of this to be a no-brainer, Argentina for the win, this match might be more difficult to predict. Both teams did have a dismal World Cup. Although Argentina has won most of their matches after their World Cup defeat to France, this will be their toughest challenge yet.
Argentina announced their squad on November 1st, which comprised of a strong defensive side led by Manchester City player Nicolás Otamendi, with the offensive line likely to be led by Inter Milan star Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala. Notably, Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria are not included for the friendly fixtures against Mexico.
Mexico announced their team eight days later, opting for a relatively stronger team, which included the likes of Miguel Layún, Diego Reyes and Raúl Jiménez. World Cup hero Hirving “Chucky” Lozano will miss out due to injury along with other big names such as Carlos Vela, Jonathan & Giovanni Dos Santos and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, but star goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa will likely start.
Although both sides are weaker than expected, Argentina will be heading into this match with more confidence based on their recent form, that too in a home fixture in Córdoba, Argentina. The likes of Dybala and Icardi might be too much trouble for the Mexican defense despite the lack of Aguero, Higuain, Messi, or Di Maria. Argentina will likely win this first encounter, but Mexico could comeback in the rematch in a few days’ time.
Prediction: Argentina 2-1 Mexico
Croatia vs Spain
World Cup finalists Croatia should be favorites to win against a red-hot Spain, but this match may be trickier to predict than the rest. Last time the two played each other, back in September, Spain refound their form and won 6-0! However, this time around, the two will play each other in Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, where Croatia has been undefeated since 2013.
Croatia will also boast a strong squad, with the only dent being Mario Mandzukic’s absence following his retirement. Although Spain brings back full-back Jordi Alba, they have a few injury issues, missing the likes of Dani Carvajal, Koke, Diego Costa and Thiago.
Spain has scored fourteen times in their last four matches and more goals will almost definitely come in Croatia. However, they have also let in quite a bit, having only one clean sheet in those last four matches. Croatia can see this as an opportunity to get goals, but will they outscore los rojos fuertos (the fiery reds)?
Prediction: Croatia 1-3 Spain
Brazil vs Uruguay
Nothing in international football gets more emotional, fiery and exciting than a South American battle. Although this match will be in London, it will still be found exciting to the world’s football fans.
Both sides will use this as an opportunity to experiment and prepare younger players for next year’s Copa America in Brazil. Uruguay, especially, will need to prepare well, as they have already lost to both South Korea and Japan, teams far weaker than Uruguay. Although Uruguay will have a fine attacking line, including Luis Suarez, they will have to play without goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, Cristhian Stuani, Diego Godin and Sebastian Coates. The absence of the Godin and Coates could pave the way for a fearsome Brazilian attack, who will look to hand Uruguay their third loss.
Brazil’s attack, although strong, will not be to full strength, as they did not Phillipe Coutinho, Casemiro, or Marcelo in the team. Despite this, the likes of Neymar Jr., Gabriel Jesus, and Roberto Firmino will cause problems in plentiful for Uruguay’s unconfident defense.
Prediction: Brazil 3-1 Uruguay
Other International Match Predictions:
Belgium 3-0 Iceland
Austria 0-1 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Palestine 3-2 Pakistan
Iran 2-0 Trinidad and Tobago
Poland 4-0 Czechia
Republic of Ireland 2-1 Northern Ireland
Wales 1-3 Denmark