With the international break now in full swing there have already been a number of shocks, goals and downright entertaining moments. Heading into the second week of internationals before domestic action resumes, here are a couple of must-watch matches.
The sponsorship driven circus that is the Brazilian national team heads to the Far East this weekend as the Selecao, fresh from their World Cup semi-final humiliation at the hands of Germany, face fierce rivals Argentina in Beijing in a friendly match.
Despite there being little other than pride on the line, encounters between Brazil and Argentina are not to be missed with the vast amounts of star quality in either squad often making for a memorable clash and Saturday evening’s clash will be no different.
Both teams are under new management, or at least newly appointed management in the case of Brazil. Dunga has been handed the top job for a second time whilst Argentina have hired Gerardo Martino after his difficult season at the helm of Barcelona.
Argentina have carried their spectacular World Cup form into Martino’s reign with Angel Di Maria inspiring a terrific 4-2 victory over Germany in Dusseldorf. Brazil on the other hand have been successful, if a little pragmatic in their two matches since the World Cup, both 1-0 victories against Colombia and Ecuador respectively.
The two teams are at different stages in their development cycles with Brazil starting from scratch and Argentina having a settled team and style of play allowing all of their attacking talents to fit into one system.
2. Luxembourg vs Spain, Sunday, 2:45pm ET, FOX Sports 1 & FOX Deportes
Under normal circumstances this would certainly be a match to miss with the expectation being on Spain to rack up a high number of goals. Sunday evening’s clash is a little different however given the recent La Roja’s recent struggles.
The World Cup felt like the end of an era for Vicente del Bosque’s wonderful generation of Spanish footballers with the reigning champions leaving the competition at the group stage. It was hoped and to a degree, expected, that the Spanish national team would undergo a rejuvenation period with a lot of the older heads being replaced by younger, fresh players, however Del Bosque appears as yet unwilling to make a total decision.
Impressive youngsters such as Paco Alcacer and Rodrigo Moreno have all been brought into the fold however Del Bosque persists with legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas in favour of the now much better David de Gea.
The lack of true change for the Spanish squad has seen the team begin their qualification campaign for Euro 2016 right where they left off in Brazil, with poor performances.
Spain were defeated yesterday evening 2-1 away in Slovakia in a performance which was so reminiscent of Spain’s lackluster displays at the World Cup. Mistakes from Casillas again saw calls for David de Gea to be handed the number one jersey on a more permanent basis. It is difficult to see how he can be held back any longer.
The trip to Luxembourg could be quite an easy one for Spain if they are on form, however, the pressure on the side and recent disappointments suggest it will tough for the visitors. It is certainly a match to keep an eye on because if Luxembourg can start the match well things could snowball in a negative direction for the reigning European Champions.
It is highly unlikely there will be an upset on the cards but we are set for an exciting match, even more so if Del Bosque rings the changes.
There will certainly be goals in this fixture and is definitely one to keep an eye out for this weekend.
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