There’s plenty of international football to look forward to on Saturday, so here’s a selection of games not to be missed from Euro 2024 qualifying, CAF World Cup qualifying, International friendlies and more.
Euro 2024 qualifying
Armenia vs Wales, Netherlands vs Republic of Ireland, France vs Gibraltar, Israel vs Romania & more
Four more teams could book their places at Euro 2024 on Saturday, with Group D certainly the most interesting.
Türkiye, who are in friendly action (see below), have already secured a top two finish, with Wales, Croatia and Armenia all still in with a shout of joining them.
Wales’ destiny is in their own hands, knowing victory from their final two fixtures, Armenia (A) today and Türkiye (H) on Tuesday, will see them qualify for a third successive European Championships.
However, should the Dragons drop any points, Croatia could pip them to second with victories from their two matches, Latvia (A) and Armenia (H) which, on paper, is an easier run-in.
Here, Rob Page’s team make the 2,400 mile journey east to Yerevan, seeking a first-ever victory over Armenia, a side who turned them over 4-2 in Cardiff earlier this year.
Hoping the Dragons drop points in that game, Croatia are in Rīga for a later kick off, with Zlatko Dalić's team expected to swat Latvia aside, having won the reverse fixture 5-0.
Over in Group B, Netherlands, who’ve only missed two of the last 12 Euros, will rubber stamp their ticket to Germany should they beat Republic of Ireland at Johan Cruijff Arena.
Given that the Boys in Green have won just six of their last 32 competitive fixtures, their sole points in this campaign coming against Gibraltar, Oranje should cruise to victory in Amsterdam.
Elsewhere, already guaranteed to finish first France will demolish Gibraltar at Allianz Riviera, seeking to end a Euro qualification campaign with maximum points for only the third time, after ‘92 and 2004.
Arguably, the biggest game of the day comes from Pancho Aréna where Israel, who cannot play games at home just now for obvious reasons, take on Romania.
In Group I, Switzerland and Romania currently have 16 points, with Israel four adrift the pair.
Thus, as the sky blue and whites seek to qualify for a first-ever Euro, they simply must win, while a point for Romania in Felcsút will see them clinch a top two finish, condemning Israel to the play-offs.
Simultaneously, Switzerland can take care of their own destiny, as Murat Yakın’s team are favourites to beat Kosovo at St. Jakob-Park.
Lastly, the bottom two, Belarus and Andorra, go head-to-head, with the former confident of victory, given that they’re four points better off than their winless visitors.
1) Armenia vs Wales- under 2.5 goals. 2) France HT/FT & over 5.5 goals. 3) Netherlands to win & over 2.5 goals. 4) Israel vs Romania- BTTS. 5) Croatia to win to nil. 6) Switzerland to win. 7) Belarus to win.
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Euro 2024 qualifying
November 18, 2023
2:00 pm GMT
CAF World Cup qualifying
Senegal vs South Sudan, South Africa vs Benin & Niger vs Tanzania
The first matchday of CAF World Cup qualifying concludes on Saturday, meaning all 53 eligible members, aside from Morocco, who’s opponents Eritrea were forced to withdraw, will have began their campaigns.
Reigning AFCON champions Senegal are the big-hitters on show today, aiming to reach a third World Cup in succession, having only ever featured at one beforehand.
The Lions of Téranga are, without doubt, one of Africa’s strongest teams, but cannot afford too many slip-ups, given that DR Congo, who made a winning start on Wednesday, will be challenging them for first place.
With tougher tests ahead, Aliou Cissé's team can’t afford to drop points against South Sudan at Stade Olympique de Diamniadio.
Over in Group C, South Africa have also featured at three World Cup, although the most-recent of those was the 2010 edition, qualifying as hosts of course.
After the section’s juggernauts Nigeria could only draw with minnows Lesotho at home on Thursday, Bafana Bafana will be desperate to take full advantage when Benin visit Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Lastly, neither Niger or Tanzania are going to qualify, with Morocco and Zambia also in Group E, so there’s very little to say about this one.
Germany vs Türkiye
In the day’s sole international friendly, two teams who will be at next summer’s European Championships go head-to-head at Olympiastadion, the venue for the Euros Final itself in just 239 days time.
Tournament hosts Germany have not had the smoothest preparation, enduring a run of five games without a win earlier this year, suffering defeats at the hands of Belgium, Poland, Colombia and Japan.
This ultimately saw Hansi Flick lose his job, with Julian Nagelsmann taking charge of the team for the first time with two stateside friendlies last month.
Die Mannschaft came from a goal down to beat USA 3-1 in Connecticut before, three days later, playing out a chaotic 2-2 draw with Mexico in Philadelphia; Niclas Füllkrug scoring in both.
This month, Nagelsmann’s team will also face Austria in Vienna, and every game count, given the little preparation time he’ll have, having been appointed a mere eight months before the tournament begins.
Türkiye meantime also made a managerial change ahead of the October window, sacking German legend Stefan Kuntz, also after a heavy defeat to Japan, with Vincenzo Montella having an immediate impact.
The Crescent-Stars caused a big upset by defeating Croatia in Osijek, inflicting their first-ever home defeat in a Euro qualifier, before a thumping 4-0 victory over Latvia in Konya secured a top two finish in Group D.
This means Türkiye will feature at a third successive Euros, needing a draw in Cardiff on Tuesday to guarantee they finish first.
Ahead of this, Germany have won 14 of their 21 meetings with Turkey, while the Crescent-Stars’ sole victory on German soil came 79 years ago; Muzaffer Tokaç, who would be 101 years old today, the late match-winner.
Can they change that in this friendly in Berlin?
England Under-21 European Championship qualifier
Serbia U21s vs England U21s
Having made a mixed start to their European Championships title defence, England U21s will be looking to get back to winning ways.
Lee Carsley’s side commenced this qualification cycle with back-to-back wins, swatting aside Luxembourg 3-0 in Déifferdeng before demolishing Serbia 9-1 at the City Ground.
Jaden Philogene, Harvey Elliott and Noni Madueke all bagging braces in Nottingham, as the Young Lions scored 9+ in a game for the first time in a decade.
However, four days later, they were then beaten in dramatic fashion by Ukraine, downed 3-2 in Košice, with the winning goal coming deep into stoppage time.
Given that only the group winners qualify for the tournament in Slovakia, while the runners-up go into the play-offs, England now have little margin for error, as they hunt down Ukraine who currently boast a perfect record.
The reigning European champions welcome Northern Ireland to Goodison Park on Tuesday, but also need three points from this trip to Bačka Topola before then.
Serbia meantime, despite being battered when they visited the East Midlands last month, their biggest-ever defeat, have actually won their other two matches.
Ljubinko Drulović's team won their group opener 2-0 when Azerbaijan visited Stara Pazova, before Miloš Pantović's late goal snatched a 2-1 victory at Mourneview Park against Northern Ireland last time out.
The Eagles qualified for three successive U21 Euros between 2015 and 2019, but are now seeking to avoid missing out on three consecutive editions.
An England win seems likely at TSC Aréna, a venue West Ham supporters should familiarise themselves with, given that their team will be visiting in just 12 days time.