International Soccer

Today's full slate of international matches

The time has come again for another day of international soccer as CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers commence while the rest of the world takes part in some good old fashioned friendlies. Ives will be down in Guatemala for the USA vs. Guatemala fixture, but in case you missed it, I’ve compiled a list of all the other games going on that day.

World Cup Qualifying – CONCACAF

  • Group 1: USA vs. Guatemala, 10 p.m.; Cuba vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 8 p.m.
  • Group 2: Canada vs. Jamaica, 7:30 p.m.; Mexico vs. Honduras, 9 p.m.
  • Group 3: Haiti vs. Suriname, 6 p.m.; Costa Rica vs. El Salvador, 10 p.m.

The games to keep an eye on will occur in Group 2, undoubtedly a "group of death" if there ever was one. All four teams will be in contention to make it out and it will be interesting to see how Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Mexico squad handles their first test. Don’t discount Amado Guevara’s squad, and if Honduras pull the upset, it would put Mexico into a major hole.

On the European front, I’ve come up with eight games to keep an eye on:

  • England vs. Czech Republic
  • Russia vs. Netherlands
  • Sweden vs. France
  • Norway vs. Ireland
  • Ukraine vs. Poland
  • Germany vs. Belgium
  • Denmark vs. Spain
  • Italy vs. Austria

England should have the slight edge against the Czech Republic and it’ll be interesting to see how hard they go for it as the embarrassment of Euro 2008 still sits in the back of every English player’s mind. Watch out for the Czech Republic though as they may be bent on a good result after crashing out of Euro 2008 so disastrously against Turkey. The other marquee match-up is Russia against the Netherlands. The odds-on favorites to win Euro 2008, the Netherlands were thwarted by Russia’s Dutch manager Guus Hiddink and his attack of Andrei Arshavin and Roman Pavlyuchenko. We’ll see if they can firm up their new reputation even more with a repeat performance.

Next up, are the thirteen games to keep a wandering eye on. By this, I mean it’s worth a look at the scoring summary and not much more unless you’ve got a rooting interest.

  • Turkey vs. Chile
  • Colombia vs. Ecuador
  • Finland vs. Israel
  • Argentina vs. Belarus
  • Portugal vs. Faroe Islands
  • Slovenia vs. Croatia
  • Japan vs. Uruguay
  • Scotland vs. Northern Ireland
  • Slovakia vs. Greece
  • Switzerland vs. Cyprus
  • Iceland vs. Azerbaijan
  • Romania vs. Latvia
  • Bolivia vs. Panama
  • Wales vs. Georgia

It’s always interesting to check out how badly the world powers thrash their opponent when they play a tune-up against a lower level team. I’m putting my money on Portugal to score at least five goals. It should be fun to see if Alexander Hleb will have any effect against Argentina (who won’t be full strength because of the Olympics). The match-up I’m keeping the firmest wandering eye on is Wales vs. Georgia. Wales isn’t half bad, but it will certainly be a story line if a small embattled nation like Georgia can unite to muster an uplifting result.

Lastly, are eight games that involve mostly bottom feeders. Sorry if you’re a fan of one of these nations, but the interest in these friendlies will be minimal.

  • Tunisia vs. Angola
  • Estonia vs. Malta
  • Hungary vs. Montenegro
  • Albania vs. Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg vs. Macedonia
  • Lithuania vs. Moldova
  • Saudi Arabia vs. Paraguay
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Bulgaria

What do you think the best match-ups for tomorrow are? Will you focus your attention on CONCACAF or is the lure of European soccer too much to pass up? Share your thoughts below.

  • Rob Usry

    woohoo, time to get the Soccer fix in, England-Czech Rep. Should be good. I think the U.S. are gonna come out blazing and put all this playing for a draw crap to bed.


  • mikeK

    Keane scores to put Ireland up 1-0 at halftime in Oslo. Deserved goal, Ireland held much of the possession.


  • Al17

    Wales isn’t half bad when compared to what -Luxemborg? Rolls eyes.

    Sweden – France also marks a new look for “les Bleus” not only with players but also sporting the un nouveau maillot “Bleu”.


  • Jacob

    I’m hoping Rob’s right. 3-0 at half sure would be nice.

    Also, Kazahstan (sp?) is playing, I heard somewhere. How could that have slipped through the cracks. Unless of course it’s up there and I missed it.


  • mikeK

    For the record, Ives, I didn’t see you report this, but Georgia’s upcoming home qualifier verse my Republic of Ireland squad was moved to a neutral venue by FIFA.


  • SonicDeathMonkey

    The Uzbeki league is ranked higher than MLS, so I would assume they would beat Kazakhstan handily.


  • Scott A

    haha where are these league rankings Sonic?

    Let’s see Mexico not make it to the World Cup…come on Honduras


  • Colm

    I’ll be watching the DC United match on MLSLive.tv and then moving on to the US v. Guatemala matchup.

    All while studying graduate level biochemistry and trying to habituate a kitten to humans. Should be a fun night.


  • Tim

    I also think Scotland/Northern Ireland is an interesting match. NI, if not for a late qualifying slump, SHOULD HAVE qualified for Euro 2008. They are no slouch, and on any given day could give anybody a match. David Healy is a goal scoring machine for them. I think they were hurt by the departure of Lawrie Sanchez. He should have never gone to Fulham. He had NI winning big games, and was loved by the fans. When I heard he was leaving for Fulham, I just had that sense he wasn’t a “club guy.”

    Back to the marquee match-ups, Spain and Italy should win handily, as should Germany. England prevails in a close match with the Czech Republic, and Russia edges the Netherlands. I’ll call draws in Sweden/France, Norway/Ireland, and Ukraine/Poland.


  • JK

    Russia-Holland Hands down. This game was hyped in Euro 2008. This game has the great possibility of being a scoring frenzy.


  • Original Aaron

    Is the Mexico/Honduras game going to be on ESPN2 as well? If not- where can I watch it?


  • mig22

    Jonathan: are those two statements connected or independent. Just curious.

    Seems to me Beckham created the only scoring for England. I’m no fan boy but I saw the old boy run front to back, play the right and left, and generally play effectively.

    England’s finishing is…not good. Defoe did himself no favor today. So was England lucky? Maybe. I thought it was about a push between the two teams. Just MHO.



  • Jonathan

    mig22, they’re independent

    To Bekcham’s credit, he performed better than Lampard. Then again, Lampard has been so invisible for England.

    I consider the scramble that led to the last England goal lucky. The Czechs were in control most of the 2nd half, and had many opportunities for a 3rd goal.


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