Top 5 matches to look forward to in the International Break
Written by: Atrayo Bhattacharya
Your favourite clubs may be taking a break but nonetheless, there are some tasty games to keep an eye out for in the coming fortnight.
The footballing season is getting even more heated up, as the FIFA World Cup is knocking right at the door and the players are going to take a break from their clubs and join their respective countries to play a few friendlies. These friendlies are very crucial as it allows managers to see who do they want in their final squad, they can try out different tactics and play a different set of players against quality opposition and figure out where they stand right before the grand tournament in Russia.
The FIFA World Cup is a tournament which hardly anyone can afford to miss, but still, a lot of club football is left this season before we shift our focus to Russia. So, just for a change the international friendlies attracts people's interest on a large scale as it is just before the World Cup.
These are the matches to look forward to in this international break.
5. Germany Vs Spain
The Germans are one of the favourites to win the World Cup this summer
The current World Cup holders will host the former holders, in a crunch match in Dusseldorf. Both teams look extremely powerful with the amount of quality they have in their squad. Joachim Loew will look to experiment with his side a little bit by trying out different things, as he has a huge pool of players from which he needs to pick the right squad.
Spain, on the other hand, will look to do the same. A lot of new names have been included in the squad by Julen Lopetegui. Players like Alvaro Morata, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro were left out by the Spanish manager, as youngsters like Lucas Vazquez, Marcos Alonso, Dani Parejo got call-ups. Loew also omitted some eminent names, Marco Reus and Mario Gotze have been left out while Stuttgart forward Mario Gomez makes the cut at the age of 32. All in all, it will be an excellent spectacle for the viewers as two rivals go head to head against one another.
4. Spain Vs Argentina
Another fixture which a lot of spectators are eagerly waiting for. Heavyweights Argentina will be going up against a rejuvenated Spain. Messi-led Argentina will face the La Roja at the Wanda Metropolitano on 28th March. Albiceleste manager Jorge Sampaoli has left out players like Paulo Dybala, Carlos Tevez and Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi. Everton defender, Funes Mori makes the cut alongside Manuel Lanzini of West Ham and Giovanni Lo Celso of PSG.
Lopetegui will look to shuffle around his team especially in midfield, as they have a lot of talented players in that area. Lopetegui has left out Morata, Diego Costa becomes their main man up front, Rodrigo and Iago Aspas will definitely get their chances which they need to capitalize on. It will be a great encounter as both teams have great squads and are expected to produce an excellent spectacle.
3. Germany Vs Brazil
The Brazilians have created a sense of rivalry with Germany since the last World Cup
By no means, this match can be termed as a friendly, after the 2014 World Cup semi-final humiliation whenever these two teams met the atmosphere went electric. They just do not prefer losing against each other and that's what makes this match a mouth-watering clash. Brazil will miss their talisman, Neymar due to his foot injury. Tite has chosen a relatively young squad for the friendlies, including the likes of Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk), Anderson Talisca (Besiktas), Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk) and so on. Juventus left-back Alex Sandro and Monaco midfielder Fabinho were left out along with Oscar, who has been in superb form in the Chinese Super League.
Germany will look to try out different tactics by allowing players to take up different roles. Loew has said that the German team needs players who are flexible and versatile. So, it remains to be seen how the Die Mannschaft turn up against their arch-rivals at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on 28th March.
2. England vs Italy
The Azzurri may not have qualified for the grand tournament but they never fail to give a tough fight against any of their opponents. England, on the other hand, will miss their talisman upfront, Harry Kane.While manager Gareth Southgate made some interesting inclusion in the squad. The Burnley duo of Nick Pope and James Tarkowski are set to make their first appearance for the Three Lions. Whereas Alfie Mawson and Lewis Cook received their first call-ups for their commendable performances for Swansea City and Bournemouth respectively.
Italy also have a strong squad, as manager Luigi Di Biaggio went with some interesting options. Youngsters like Roberto Gagliardi, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Federico Chiesa were included in the squad. AC Milan starlet Patrick Cutrone made the cut alongside Andrea Belotti who is not in his best form. Di Biaggio decided to leave out Mario Balotelli who is in great form for French outfit Nice. Southgate will look to test his squad without Kane, whereas Italy will try and make life difficult for the Three Lions.
1. Kyrgyz Republic Vs India (AFC Asian Cup Qualifier)
India have already qualified for the AFC Asian Cup next year
Last but not least, this is the match which most of the Indian football fans are waiting for. The Bue Tigers make their way to the Kyrgyz Republic for their last Asian Cup Qualifier, as winning the match could see India rising to their highest rank (82/83) in their history. This will result in an easier draw in the Asian Cup and will be a massive advantage for the Blue Tigers. Manager Stephen Constantine has made some shocking inclusions in the squad, the likes of Sumeet Passi, Halicharan Narzary, Rowlin Borges all were included despite having a poor season. Players like Michael Soosairaj, Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Nikhil Kadam, Adil Khan, Gurtej Singh, Rahul Bheke are few who were left out in spite of making valuable contributions to their respective clubs.
Many players were left out by the Englishman and in Sunil Chhetri's absence due to a suspension India will feel the pressure in a crunch away match. Jeje Lalpekhlua will lead the line and a lot of pressure will be on his shoulders to strik first blood.
Published: Mon Mar 19, 2018 01:12 PM IST