There’s plenty of international football to look forward to on Thursday, so here’s a selection of games not to be missed from Euro 2024 qualifying, CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying, International friendlies and more.
Euro 2024 qualifying
Euro 2024 qualifying is approaching it’s conclusion, so the fate of numerous sides will be decided over the coming days.
In Group A, Scotland have won five out of five so far, their best-ever start to a campaign, and just a point will see the Tartan Army secure their spot at the European Championships.
This though will not be easy, given that Steve Clarke’s team travel to Estadio de La Cartuja to face Spain, with la Roja really need to win this one to have any chance of usurping their visitors at the top of the table.
Elsewhere in this group, Norway haven’t featured at any major tournament since Euro 2000, a fact that could remain true, despite the fact the Lions boast two of the very best attackers in world football.
If Ståle Solbakken’s side have any chance of keeping pace with the top two, they’re trip to Larnaca is must win, although this does seem likely, with hosts Cyprus rock bottom and pointless, having conceded 17 goals so far.
Over in Group D, the top two go head-to-head in Osijek, with Croatia welcoming Türkiye to the brand-new Opus Arena.
A win for either would be a gigantic step towards qualification and, given that the Blazers won the reverse fixture 2-0 in Bursa, Zlatko Dalić's side will fancy their chances of a repeat result.
If there is a winner, Group D’s surprise package Armenia could climb into an automatic qualification spot with victory in Rīga.
Oleksandr Petrakov’s side are unbeaten on the road in this campaign, winning in Cardiff and drawing in Eskişehir, meaning Armenia are firm favourites to beat a pointless Latvia.
The top two in Group E will also meet this evening, as Albania welcome Czechia to Arena Kombëtare.
Albania have only ever qualified for one major tournament in their history, but Sylvinho’s side moved significantly closer to changing that last month, leaving Prague with a draw, before beating Poland in Tirana.
Given that the Reds and Blacks conclude their campaign against the group’s two minnows in November, any sort of positive result from this one would leave them in pole position.
Visitors Czechia meantime have never failed to qualify for a Euros since independence, and victory for Jaroslav Šilhavý's side would see them climb to the top of the group, having played one game fewer.
The group’s top seeds Poland currently find themselves in fourth, with September’s aforementioned 2-0 defeat in Albania seeing Fernando Santos sacked after just half a dozen games in charge.
Now led by Michał Probierz, the Eagles simply must beat Faroe Islands at Tórsvøllur to have any chance of a top two finish, although they’ll be without talisman and captain Robert Lewandowski due to injury.
Lastly to Group I, where matchday seven’s outstanding fixture would’ve been Switzerland’s trip to Israel, although this match has been postponed, due to Hamas’ inhumane attacks last weekend.
Instead, Romania can claim top spot with victory over Belarus, who themselves are currently forced to play at a neutral venue and behind-closed-doors for political reasons.
Edward Iordănescu’s side are unbeaten in Euro qualifying, so an away win seems likely in Budapest.
Elsewhere, the bottom two will go head-to-head at Estadi Nacional, with Kosovo confident of claiming a rare win as they face Andorra.
CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying
All ten South American nations are in World Cup qualifying action on Thursday night.
Brazil currently sit top of the table, on maximum points after two games, with another comfortable victory for the Seleção expected, given that perennial strugglers Venezuela are the visitors to Arena Pantanal.
Similarly, World Champions Argentina welcome Paraguay to Estadio Monumental, with la Albiceleste also widely-expected to make it nine points out of nine against a los Guaraníes side who are winless.
The night’s toughest game to call comes from Barranquilla, where Colombia and Uruguay go head-to-head.
Los Cafeteros’ last two meetings with la Celeste have both finished goalless, so those inside Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez are unlikely to be treated to a goal-fest.
Ecuador began this campaign on -3, following a points deduction, but returned to zero points last time out by claiming a, somewhat surprising, 2-1 home win over Uruguay, in which they came from behind.
Félix Sánchez Bas’ side travel to Bolivia and, even though la Verde are famously strong in La Paz, given that la Tri have won their last five meetings, losing just one of their last 20, an away win could be on the cards.
Last, but by no means least, two more winless sides Chile and Peru go head-to-head in Santiago, both in desperate need of three points, after the pair both failed to qualify for Qatar 2022.
There are also plenty of weird and wonderful international friendlies taking place today.
Sweden’s Euro 2024 qualifying campaign could hardly have gone any worse, with the Blågult all but guaranteed to miss out on a first Euros since ‘96, so they’ll be looking for a morale-boosting win over Moldova in Solna.
Meanwhile, Georgia welcome Thailand to Tbilisi while Montenegro face Lebanon in Podgorica, with two comfortable victories for the European hosts likely to be on the cards.
Over in North Africa, Egypt take on Zambia and Algeria face Cap Verde, with all four teams ramping up preparations for the start of CAF World Cup qualifying next month.
Lastly, the United Arab Emirates welcome Kuwait to Dubai, and the fact this is even warranting a mention emphasises that it isn’t a glamour day for international friendlies.
AFC World Cup qualifying
Over in Asia, the long road to World Cup 2026 begins, with the confederation’s 20 lowest-ranked sides featuring in the first round, all seeking to avoid falling at the first hurdle.
The seeded teams are all at home today, with the return legs coming up on Tuesday, so we foresee plenty of home wins from this slate of fixtures.
CONCACAF Nations League
In North America, the CONCACAF Nations League continues, with the 12 League A sides in focus, as they all dream of qualifying for next summer’s Copa América.
Jamaica currently sit top of Group B on four points, and victory in Grenada would be a giant step towards a Copa América return for the Reggae Boyz.
Just below them, second-placed Cuba face third-place Honduras in a huge match, one that la H will feel is must win.
1) Jamaica to win & over 2.5 goals. 2) Suriname vs Haiti- under 2.5 goals. 3) Cuba vs Honduras- under 2.5 goals. 4) Guadeloupe to win. 5) St Kitts to win. 6) Dominica to win. 7) Bonaire to win.
Get 17/1 on the above seven-fold acca!
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CONCACAF Nations League
October 12, 2023
9:00 pm GMT+1
England U21s back in action
England U21s are in action on home soil for the first time since being crowned European Champions in July.
The Young Lions will welcome Serbia to the City Ground, seeking to make it two wins out of two in qualifying, having swatted aside Luxembourg 3-0 in Differdange last month.
The visitors also have maximum points on the board, easily beating Azerbaijan 2-0 in Stara Pazova in September, but travel to Nottingham as big underdogs.
The England squad is full of talent, including James Trafford, Rico Lewis, Tino Livramento, Jarell Quansah, Harvey Elliott, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, Noni Madueke, Cole Palmer, Samuel Iling-Junior and many more.
So, we expect Lee Carsley’s side to cruise to victory.