There’s plenty of international football to look forward to on Friday, so here’s a selection of games not to be missed from Euro 2024 qualifying, International friendlies and CONCACAF Nations League.
Euro 2024 qualifying
There are seven Euro qualifiers taking place on Friday night, but the one that immediately leaps off the page sees two former European Champions go head-to-head in Amsterdam.
France hammered the Netherlands 4-0 in Paris back in March, and les Blues have been perfect in this campaign so far, enjoying five wins out of five, so Didier Deschamps’ team could qualify tonight.
Since that hammering at Stade de France, Oranje have won all three of their qualifiers too, most-recently coming from behind to prevail in Dublin in September.
The Dutch are aiming to win back-to-back home games against the French for the first time since 1981, but the away side kick off as favourites at Johan Cruijff Arena.
Elsewhere in Group B, Greece are seeking to keep pace with these two juggernauts, with Gus Poyet’s team confident of beating a beleaguered Republic of Ireland are the Aviva Stadium.
Over in Group F, the top two will go head-to-head at Ernst-Happel-Stadion, with both on the cusp of securing qualification.
Belgium and Austria drew 1-1 in June, while both have won their other four qualifiers, leaving the pair seven points clear of Sweden meaning, if there is a winner in Vienna, the victors will book their place at the Euros.
The Red Devils are unbeaten in six meetings with Das Team, dating back 64 years, so we foresee an away win.
Earlier in the day, the group’s bottom two meet in Tallinn; Estonia and Azerbaijan drew 1-1 at Dalğa Arena four months ago, meaning both have just one point on the board, so who will add to that here?
Lastly, in Group J, Portugal can secure their spot at the European Championships with victory over Slovakia at Estádio do Dragão.
Roberto Martínez’s team are five points clear at the top of the table, having won a perfect six out of six so far, most-recently hammering Luxembourg 9-0 at Estádio Algarve in September.
With second-placed Slovakia likely to suffer defeat in Porto, those just below will be hoping to cut the gap.
Luxembourg kick off in third, despite that record-breaking defeat last time out, with Luc Holtz’s team desperate to bounce back at Laugardalsvöllur against a struggling Iceland.
Finally, given that Liechtenstein remain pointless, Bosnia & Herzegovina will cruise to victory in Vaduz, despite their own ongoing trials and tribulations.
Friday’s headline international match comes from Wembley, with Australia the visitors.
The two last met in 2016, with the Three Lions prevailing 2-1 in Sunderland, while the Socceroos will take inspiration from their one and only victory in this fixture, a 3-1 win of their own at Upton Park two decades ago.
Gareth Southgate’s team can secure Euro 2024 qualification against Italy on Tuesday, but this game gives the manager a chance of experiment in a game England should comfortably win.
Elsewhere, there’s plenty more friendly matches taking place between two teams from different confederations.
In Niigata, Japan will be targeting a fifth successive friendly victory, having put four past both Germany and Türkiye last month, with Canada the visitors to Denka Big Swan Stadium.
Not too far away in Seoul, having, belatedly, claimed his first win at Korea Republic boss in September, Jürgen Klinsmann will be looking for another win as the Taegeuk Warriors host Tunisia.
Another manager under pressure is Roberto Mancini, after he lost his first two matches in charge of Saudi Arabia last month.
The Green Falcons will take on Nigeria in, checks notes, Portugal, with the Super Eagles kicking off as favourites at Estádio Municipal de Portimão.
Lastly, New Zealand return to action for the first time since June, with the All Whites facing DR Congo in Murcia, as the two teams meet for the very first time.
1) England to win & over 2.5 goals. 2) Japan to win. 3) Nigeria to win. 4) Korea Republic to win. 5) Qatar to win. 6) New Zealand vs DR Congo- under 2.5 goals
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October 13, 2023
11:35 am GMT+1
CONCACAF Nations League
Over in the CONCACAF region, the Nations League continues and, for those lucky enough to be part of League A, the race for a place at next summer’s Copa América continues.
Trinidad & Tobago made an unexpectedly brilliant start in September, winning both matches, although the difficulty level is set to increase for the Soca Warriors, with Guatemala visiting Port-of-Spain.
Elsewhere, Panama will fancy their chances of a win over Curaçao in Willemstad, while pointless El Salvador are in desperate need of victory when they face Martinique.