It may not be the Champions League
But there's still plenty of value around the European grounds
Does anyone truly like international breaks? Club managers don’t want their players picking up injuries, international managers probably have their squad settled before these games and don’t want any headaches. And judging by the mostly half empty stadiums fans don’t seem to care either.
But we do. Which is why we’ve looked through the thirteen games on Tuesday evening and picked out a lucky dip of a 12/1 treble with Scotland, France and a draw between Portugal and Belgium.
Scotland vs Denmark – Hampden Park – 8pm
Neither of these sides are going to the European Championships which makes this friendly even more pointless than the other ones.
Scotland were impressively clinical in their game on Thursday in Prague. Ikechi Anya’s early goal capped off a good performance from a Scottish side which saw debuts for Kenny MacLean, Tony Watt and Birmingham star Paul Caddis. Despite wave after wave of Czech attack the defence stood stronger than a Bovril.
The Danes took apart Iceland thanks to Nicolai Jørgensen’s double. They’ve a host of stars at their disposal in the form of Kaspar Schmeichel, Daniel Agger and Christian Eriksen amongst others like Tommy Delaney, the most Scottish sounding name of all time.
Scotland have only lost twice at home since October 2013 and they were to Germany and England. They tend to do well in front of their own fans so back them to win at.
France vs Russia – Stade De Frances – 8pm
The French were involved in the game of the weekend when they went to Amsterdam and came away with a 3-2 victory thanks to Blaise Matuidi’s 88th minute goal. In an emotionally-charged night for the Dutch, it was Paul Pogba who stood out for Didier Deschamps’ team.
Because they’re hosting the Euros in June, France didn’t even need to qualify, the arrogant bread-loving feckers! So they haven’t and won’t be tested competitively in the run up. The strength of their squad is amazing though – they’re able to have N’Golo Kante on the bench!
Before Saturday, Russia (and much of their squad) hadn’t played competitively since before Christmas due to the weather. See. We don’t have it so bad in Britain and Ireland. We could have snow in March like the Russ- oh.
Their squad announcement saw the return of their record goalscorer Alexander Kerzhakov after an absence. Leonid Slustky’s (you there – stop giggling) side are in the same group as England and Wales in June so fans should watch this one if they can. France win on home soil at
Portugal vs Belgium – Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa – 19:45
This is a rescheduled game from Thursday due to the tragic events in Brussels and on paper it’s mouthwatering. If you believe the FIFA rankings, it’s the best team in the world travelling to face the 7th best.
If Belgium don’t impress in June, they will lose their tag as the hipster’s favorite to Austria. Household names like Lukaku, Hazard (not that one, his brother, but still), Witsel, Courtois, Mirallas and Alderweireld are all in the squad for Tuesday. They’ve only got two players over 30 in their squad, making them the most exciting prospect apart from maybe
Gareth Bale Wales at the championships in the summer.
Portugal named a pretty experienced 24 man squad for the games against Bulgaira and Belgium with Cristiano Ronaldo leading the charge. Unfortunately for him, the Selecção were toothless going forward and suffered what is known amongst youngsters as a ‘classic FIFA game’. 24 shots, 12 on target, 19 corners and 70% possession. Guess the result? Portugal 0-1 Bulgaria. Marcelinho with the only goal from the only shot on target for the Bulgarians.
That performance was good enough to convince me to tip the draw at odds of