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Which friendlies are the ones to keep an eyes on?

11 friendlies to watch ft England vs Germany, Japan vs Brazil, Belgium vs Mexico

November 7, 2017 By Oscar Rojas
Prior to the 2018 World Cup draw, National Teams need to get a glimpse of what they can face next summer. These games will give them -and you- a chance to do so.

The last International break of the year will be packed with interesting friendly games, which most countries will try to put to good use by facing teams from different parts of the world.

The main idea for most coaches is to face teams from regions they might be drawn against in the 2018 World Cup. Usually, playing against teams from those confederations does the trick, giving fans around the globe to watch their favorite footballers from abroad playing against their local heroes.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Iceland vs Czech Republic (14:45 ET/ 19:45 GMT)

The first major friendly to be played during this international break will have Iceland facing the Czech Republic. The blue and red side made it to their first-ever World Cup, and facing the Czech side will be a good sparring session for the team that stole the hearts of football fans in the 2016 Euro.

Did you know...? This will be the sixth match between Iceland and the Czech National Team. The Czechs have claimed three wins in those games.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Iran vs Panamá (13:00 ET/ 18:00 GMT)

Irán and Panamá lock horns in the Austrian city of Graz. "Team Melli" wants to get ready for another World Cup performance, while Panama prepares for their historical World Cup appearance after shocking the USMNT in the last round of CONCACAF's Qualifiers.

Did you know...? Panama defeated Iran in a friendly match held in 2004. That's the only meeting between these sides up to this date.

Scotland vs Netherlands (14:45 ET/ 19:45 GMT)

A generation of footballers that dazzled the globe in the 2014 World Cup will miss their second major tournament in a row next year. Hence, a change of guard will begin in the Oranje, starting with Arjen Robben, who already announced his retirement from the National Team. Those facing the Scottish team will give the yet-to-be appointed Dutch boss a good idea about which players can help him re-build this team's legacy.

Did you know...? The Dutch side has beaten the Scotts in their most recent three games, scoring ten goals and conceding none.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday will be the most action-packed day when it comes to friendly games, as 12 matches will be celebrated around the globe. Three of those games feature top-caliber teams, and here's what you need to know about them.

France vs Wales (15:00 ET/ 20:00 GMT)

Les Bleus struggled to win their spot in Russia, and after running into a few speedbumps, Didier Deschamps' men will try to prove they can be considered contenders to win their second World Cup trophy. Facing Wales, a team that missed out on the FIFA World Cup due to their massive amount of draws (5), will be a good test for the Euro 2016 runners up.

Did you know...? This will be the fifth clash between France and Wales. Les Bleus have won two out of the previous four games.

England vs Germany (15:00 ET/ 20:00 GMT)

In what could be considered one of football's classic games, Die Mannschaft will visit the Three Lions at Wembley Stadium in the most exciting friendly of the week. Both sides made it to Russia without a loss, and their meeting will be one you won't want to miss.

Did you know...? These teams played another friendly match this year, with the Germans beating Southgate's men 1-0.

Belgium vs México (14:45 ET/ 19:45 GMT)

The Red Devils face El Tri in what will be an interesting trip for the Mexicans prior to the World Cup. Eden Hazard and Co. will represent a nice challenge for Chicharito's team-mates, who absolutely dominated the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers, sealing their spot in Russia with three games left to be played.

Did you know...? Mexico and Belgium have played three World Cup matches against each other. El Tri has walked out with two wins and one draw.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Russia vs Argentina(08:00 ET/ 13:00 GMT)

The 2018 World Cup hosts begin their final round of friendlies against one of the favorites to win the tournament: Argentina. La Albiceleste's struggles to make it to Russia are over, but Messi & Co. want to return to the title match, and preparing against the home team will give them a glimpse of what they can expect next year.

Did you know...? The last game between these teams took place in August 2009, with La Albiceleste winning that clash 3-2.

Spain vs Costa Rica (15:30 ET/ 20:30 GMT)

La Roja recovered their pedigree under Julen Lopetegui and, led by Isco and some other rising stars, the 2010 World Cup winners can be considered among the favorites to win next year's tournament. La Roja's coaches wanted to face a Latin American team this week, and the Costa Rican side seems like a good opponent to get things moving before the results of the World Cup draw.

Did you know...? This will be the third friendly match between these teams in this decade. Spain won the most recent one with a 2-1 score.

Other friendly games to watch

Korea Republic vs Colombia - November 10, at 06:00 ET/ 11:00 GMT

Japan vs Brazil - November 10, at 07:00 ET/ 12:00 GMT

Poland vs Uruguay - November 10, at 14:45 ET/ 19:45 GMT

Portugal vs Saudi Arabia - November 10, at 15:45 ET/ 20:45 GMT

*For a full list of the international friendlies taking place this week, click here.

Who's out of this International break?

Some coaches chose to leave some of their best players home in order to grant them rest and, in some cases, to recover from any injuries. Players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and Ricardo Quaresma were excused by Portuguese coach Fernando Santos in order to add some young talent to A Seleccao das Quinas.

Other players left out of their respective squads are: Keylor Navas (Costa Rica), Gareth Bale (Wales), Radamel Falcao (Colombia), Rafa Márquez (Mexico), Mauro Icardi (Argentina), Harry Kane (England), Manuel Neuer (Germany) and possibly, Robert Lewandowski (Poland) due to a last-minute injury picked up during Bayern Munich's most recent game.


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