Last week I delved into everything from the playoff final to the AFC Champions League in a desperate search for football. This week, well, it’s International week on the World football calendar so our options are limited. But I’ll find something…
Monday 5th June
The Under-20 World Cup has been taking place in South Korea over the last fortnight and Sunday and Monday will see the Quarter Finals played out. Fortunately for this column, England’s clash with Mexico will take place on Monday at 12pm. England’s squad seems to be mainly Everton’s youth team, a point proven by an Ademola Lookman double seeing them past Costa Rica in the previous round. Eurosport2 will have coverage of this if you’re in the UK and at a loose end on Monday lunchtime.
Tuesday 6th June
Oh my we have to scrape the barrel here. Sure, there’s an International friendly between Denmark and Germany, which you can watch on the usual betting sites, but where’s the fun in that? No, what you really want to watch is Racing Club vs Aldosivi in the Argentine Primera Division. Racing are 8th whilst Aldosivi are 26th. 26th out of 30 I’ll have you know. I’ll be honest, I knew nothing of the Argentinian league but after doing a bit of research, I am gripped. Did you know that four teams are relegated based on their co-efficients from the previous four seasons? I mean nothing makes a league more exciting than unnecessarily difficult Excel calculations. If we had this in England, Sunderland could have been relegated years ago. Having said that, a team called Arsenal are currently bottom of this season’s league table but they are 25th on the co-efficient basis. So tune in for that excitement.
Wednesday 7th June
More International friendlies. Annoyed grunt. Take your pick – Italy vs Uruguay or Spain vs Colombia. We’ve got both. Well the betting sites do. We’re very much into the International fixture window now, which as always, brings the laughs.
Thursday 8th June
What’s better than an International Friendly? Well, absolutely anything, now you come to mention it. But the answer to this particular rhetorical question is a World Cup Qualifier – in the Asian qualifying section *intrigued game show crowd noise*
Yes if you are craving football at 11am on Thursday, you can tune into Australia vs Saudi Arabia. I tell you what though, this really matters. Australia sit 3 points behind Saudi Arabia and Japan with just three games to go. With a trip to Japan on the horizon in August, Australia need the win here or else they face the dread 3rd place playoff, whereas a top two spot will secure a direct route to World Cup 2018. It’s competitive, and that’s as good as a win here.
Friday 9th June
Let’s play a game. Clear your mind of everything. Now answer this question: What is the biggest single game you can watch in International football?
If you answered anything other than Brazil vs Argentina, you are wrong. Probably. These two don’t like each other so how friendly it will be is another matter, but do you want an extra variant in the mix? Of course you do. It’s in Australia baby! Crikey! Messi is playing for Argentina but Neymar is out, but it’ll be worth a watch.
There’s a whole host of World Cup qualifiers too, the pick of which is probably Sweden vs France. Or Gibraltar/Cyprus. It’s either/or.
Saturday 10th June
If you answered the rhetorical question in the previous day with “England vs Scotland” then you are a) wrong but b) in luck, because that is where our attention will be diverted on Saturday. Scotland ‘welcome’ England to Hampden Park with their World Cup qualification hopes hanging by a thread, and you’d have to say Gordon Strachan’s job is heading for a similar plight unless he can turn around this campaign. England of course now have Gareth Southgate as manager, who has shown more strength than the previous managers combined by peddling Wayne Rooney for the simple reason that he’s not playing for his club. This is good Gareth, but please continue with this ruthless streak when it comes to the World Cup next summer. If we get there. It’s on ITV, which means lovely Clive on commentary.
Sunday 11th June
It’s a home nations fest to finish with. The fixture computer has been kind to you if you are looking for back to back action to kill time with on Sunday. Firstly, at 5pm you can catch Republic of Ireland vs Austria in some white hot Group D action. The Irish have got themselves into 2nd, only behind Serbia on goal difference and with a 4 point cushion over their opponents on Sunday, and also Wales. This looks like a pivotal day in Group D, Ireland could all but end Austria’s hopes and straight after this match, you can watch Serbia vs Wales. With 4 points separating the two sides you feel Wales need at least a point, but they are without the suspended Gareth Bale which probably limits the chances of a positive result. Other, non-home nations, matches are available – Iceland vs Croatia and Macedonia vs Spain (both 7.45pm) look like the picks of an average bunch.