Club football all over the world stops during the next 10 or 12 days, but that does not mean we won’t have action all over the globe. In fact, it will be quite the opposite since this will be the final international break before the season ends. And with the 2018 World Cup looming closer and closer, national teams all over the world need to tighten things up before it’s too late.
As one would expect, there will be great, intense games all over the world. But here are three matches you absolutely cannot miss this week.
Germany vs Spain (Friday, 19:45 BST)
Who does not like it when two of the top teams in Europe collide against each other? Even though it would be better to see them play on a bigger stage such as a quarter-final or a semi-final match, the expectations are always high when Spain and Germany collide against each other. And if we consider both teams are among the top contenders to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup, it only gets even better.
As if the history of both sides wasn’t enough considering these are the two most recent World Cup winners, we just need to take a quick look towards each squad to see we will have an inmense amount of world-class players at the same time. Germany will feature names such as Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Mats Hummels, Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos and Timo Werner. Meanwhile, Spain will counter with the likes of David de Gea, Sergio Ramos, Koke, Isco and Diego Costa.
Why should you watch it?: At least on paper, we are looking at a star-studded match. And one that no football fan in the world will want to miss.
Russia vs Brazil (Friday, 16:00 BST)
On paper, a matchup between does not really stand out since the South American side – and also five-time World Cup winners – should be considered as massive favourites against Russia. However, this game is quite special since we are talking about the tournament’s host against one of the biggest candidates to lift the trophy on Russian soil. That alone makes this game worth watching.
First, it would be extremely interesting to see how Russia are preparing down the stretch for this event. They finished third in their Group A of the 2017 Confederations Cup (behind Portugal and Mexico, but above New Zealand) and if we take that performance as a benchmark, then we can see the expectations shouldn’t be very high. On the other end, Brazil won’t have Neymar due to injury, so this will be the perfect time to see how the team adjusts to the absence of their superstar. They have enough depth to replace him, however, with names such as Willian, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho all waiting for a chance to shine. Douglas Costa, Taison and Willian Jose probably have something to say as well.
Why should you watch it?: Who does not want to watch Brazil at their best? And it is algo going to be interesting to see whether Russia can finally compete with some of the top teams in the world.
Netherlands vs England (Friday, 19:45 BST)
Last but not least, we can’t forget about England and their upcoming challenge against the Netherlands. There were a few controversial decisions on Gareth Southgate’s squad, but the core of the team is quite similar to the one that will play during the World Cup. With several players on the squad bubble heading into this one, everything seems to indicate that this game against the Dutch side will be key for Southgate in terms of determining which player will crack the final squad for Russia in a few more months.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands are on a different position. They could not reach the World Cup and are about to enter a rebuilding process, where they chose Ronald Koeman as their manager. The former Everton head coach has assembled a squad that mixes experience with young talent, and there is no question this will be a tough test for the Oranje. A win here will make fans believe there is enough talent to turn things around, while a loss would do nothing but complicate their picture in the short-term and long-term picture.
Why should you watch it?: The Netherlands are always a fun team to watch. And it will be interesting to see how can England react against a top team that won’t be in the World Cup.
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