The international break is always met with its fair share of negativity, and it isn’t hard to see why since football fans have just got back into the routine of watching their club sides every week. However, the next week or so could be crucial in determining which teams can take a giant step towards the European Championships next summer, while some of the other fixtures should also be pretty entertaining to watch.
The break from the Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga doesn’t need to be dull when you can watch all these games over the weekend.
Germany vs Netherlands
The one fixture that will immediately jump off the page is the Netherlands travelling to Hamburg to take on Germany. The two sides have already met three times over the past 12 months, and another defeat for the Dutch could leave their hopes of qualification through the group stages looking unlikely. The German’s won the last fixture between the pair to gain an element of revenge after being relegated at the hands of the Dutch in the Nations League.
Joachim Lowe’s side won 3-2 in Amsterdam in March, which was a clear indication that Germany were back in contention with the best nations. Germany raced into an early two-goal lead through strikes from Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry, before Matthijs de Ligt and Memphis Depay replied. However, the Netherlands couldn’t hang on as Nico Schulz scored a last gasp goal. It should be a high scoring game, with an average of four goals scored in each of their previous three fixtures.
Ireland vs Switzerland
The Irish have begun this qualification campaign like a side possessed. They are currently leading the group, but have played two more games than the Swiss. A win for Switzerland in Dublin could see Ireland replaced at the top of the group if Xherdan Shaqiri and co win their two games in hand. It won be easy for the side ranked 11th however, as Dublin is a typically hard place to get a positive result, and the home support will be like the 12th man for Mick McCarthy’s side.
Sweden vs Norway
Sweden and Norway are already playing catch up in Group F as both sides sit outside the automatic places. Neither country will be optimistic of catching Spain, but both countries will have aspirations of toppling Romania. This group will reach its halfway point with this fixture, and neither side will want to go into the second round of games needing to get a result against the top-seeded Spanish. Home advantage will be crucial for the Swedes, but Norway will put up a fight in this Scandinavian battle.
Chile vs Argentina
The Copa America only ended a couple of months ago, and this fixture will see a repeat of the match for third place. In the end, it wasn’t the fixture that either of these sides wanted to end with in the Copa America, but all their attention will now turn to the World Cup in 2022. Argentina will be without Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi for this fixture, and it will be interesting to see how they line-up without their star man. Alexis Sanchez meanwhile was celebrating his move to Inter Milan last week, and this friendly will present him with a chance to get into a bit of form before returning to the Italian giants.
Brazil vs Peru
Another Copa America rematch takes place to close the latest round of international fixtures as Peru and Brazil go head to head in Los Angeles. The Neymar transfer situation was a story that dominated the headlines throughout the summer, but the forward’s move never materialised. He will likely play some part against Peru, and this would mark his first appearance since picking up an injury before the competition. It may not be a classic between the sides, but it’s always special seeing the samba boys from Brazil take to the field.