7 Things To Look Out For During The International Friendlies


Brazil Seek To Keep Up The Clean Sheets

When Daryl Janmaat crossed and Georginio Wijnaldum swept the ball home it was the final act of a sorry five summer days for Brazil, who exited their own World Cup by conceding 10 goals to Germany and the Netherlands combined – the latter in the third-place playoff.

Luiz Felipe Scolari exited and Dunga came back, and with the former coach’s return has come an increase in solidity.

Brazil have won all five of his matches back at the helm, scoring 12 (with Neymar responsible for seven) and keeping five clean sheets, including against opposition the calibre of Colombia and Argentina.

The latest test of that record comes in Vienna against an Austria side who are unbeaten in nine, and haven’t failed to score since drawing a blank against Germany in a World Cup qualifier in September last year.

Make it out of this one without conceding and the summer really will seem like a long time ago.

Brazil are 2.23 to win without conceding in Vienna

 

Another Batch Of Italy Forwards Get Their Chance

Since taking the Italy job, Antonio Conte has seemingly employed a revolving door policy when it comes to his forwards.

Ciro Immobile and Simone Zaza started Sunday’s fiery 1-1 draw with Croatia, with Graziano Pelle dropping to the bench despite scoring the winner against Malta in the previous game and Mario Balotelli forced to leave the squad after picking up an injury.

Each of those four has left the squad ahead of the friendly against Albania in Genoa as Conte called in an additional 14 names, amongst them Mattia Destro, Alessandro Matri and squad debutant Stefano Okaka.

Sebastian Giovinco and Alessio Cerci are the most likely to start after being on the bench against Croatia, but with only one goal in their combined 33 international appearances, whether they’ll do enough to put a foot in the revolving door remains to be seen.

Giovinco is 3.15 to score at any time, whilst Cerci is 3.30

 

Ronaldo To Enjoy ‘Home’ Advantage In Latest Messi Battle

The raft of random international friendlies staged in England gets a new addition on Tuesday as Old Trafford plays host to Portugal versus Argentina or, as many would have you believe, Cristiano Ronaldo versus Lionel Messi.

The desire that Manchester United fans have to see Ronaldo back at Old Trafford on a permanent basis might remain a fanciful one, but they’ll doubtless see this as another chance to shower him with the love and affection he clearly thrives upon.

Messi, and indeed current United star Angel Di Maria, will have to settle for playing second fiddle.

Ronaldo is 2.45 to score at any time, with Messi at 1.98

 

Unconvincing Germany Need To Be Vibrant In Vigo

The world waited for them to hit double figures but instead Germany ‘only’ managed four goals against Gibraltar on Friday, following on from a defeat to Poland and a draw at home to the Republic of Ireland.

A crisis just 128 days after lifting the World Cup? That is more than a little far-fetched, but as they go to face Spain in Vigo without the injured Manuel Neuer they could do with a bit of a lift.

The Spanish scored 12 goals in their three Euro 2016 qualifying wins so far, but everyone is still talking about the defeat in Slovakia, with the absences of David de Gea and Diego Costa here hardly suggesting that the new generation is in full flow just yet.

This promises to be a fascinating game, but perhaps not for the reasons many expected.

Spain are 2.10 to win

 

France Crave Consistency As Sweden Visit

It might sound a strange thing to say, but France probably wish that they were coming up against Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Tuesday evening.

The presence of the Paris Saint-Germain icon in Marseille would have added something extra to Les Bleus’ friendly with Sweden, and given that friendlies is all that the French have for the next year-and-a-half then that would have been welcomed.

Prior to hosting Euro 2016, France have so far beaten Spain and Portugal but drew with Albania in Rennes on Friday. They need a competitive element to their games to keep them fresh, and might struggle for that against a Swedish team unbeaten in five.

The Draw is 4.30

 

More Of The Same For Scotland, But England Look For More Depth

Whoever decided to schedule the meeting between Scotland and England at Celtic Park would have imagined plenty of fervour surrounding the clash, but there suddenly seems a lot more riding on it than we previously thought possible.

The Scots are desperate to keep alive a feelgood factor which has seen them impress in Euro 2016 qualifying, whilst England – with the comfort of an easy group – can use this game to experiment. Joe Hart has been left out, whilst the likes of Phil Jagielka, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling might find themselves overlooked as Roy Hodgson seeks more squad depth.

A 1-1 Draw is at 6.75

 

Sanchez Seeks To Shine In Suarez’s Absence

The comparisons between Alexis Sanchez and Luis Suarez have been stacking up in recent weeks, with Arsene Wenger seemingly pleased to encourage them as he reminds Liverpool both what they lost to Barcelona and what they missed out on when the Chilean decided to move to North London.

With Suarez still banned for competitive Uruguay matches, Oscar Tabarez has opted to leave him out of the friendly meeting in Santiago as he looks at other options, leaving the path clear for Sanchez to improve on a record of seven goals in his last five games for club and country.

Sanchez is 2.65 to score at any time