World Cup Places Up for Grabs in This Weeks International Friendlies

It seems strange to think that there is just this one international break before the end of the season, then just two more end of season friendlies to be played for most teams before the start of the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia on June 14th.

Most teams will be working towards finalising their 23-man squads for the tournament over the next few weeks and the matches played this week across Europe and around the world will go a long way towards managers making up their minds about certain players who may, or may not, make the final cut when it comes to naming their squad for the summer.

As such, although these are friendly games, for the players there is a lot at stake and that can produce some surprisingly competitive encounters, especially when teams are pitted against opponents that will really test their capabilities, as is the case in many matches in this international window.

Outlined below are some of the big matches taking place over the next few days.

International Friendlies

  • Thursday 22nd March

China v Wales

Denmark v Panama

  • Friday 23rd March

Uruguay v Czech Republic

Russia v Brazil

Turkey v Republic of Ireland

Argentina v Italy

Germany v Spain

Netherlands v England

Poland v Nigeria

Portugal v Egypt

Scotland v Costa Rica

France v Colombia

  • Saturday 24th March

Peru v Croatia

Mexico v Iceland

Northern Ireland v South Korea

Sweden v Chile

  • Monday 26th March

Albania v Norway

Portugal v Netherlands

  • Tuesday 27th March

Russia v France

Denmark v Chile

Hungary v Scotland

Belgium v Saudi Arabia

Germany v Brazil

England v Italy

Spain v Argentina

International Friendlies Coral 4+ Acca Boost Betcoral free bet

I’ve gone through the fixtures for the fixtures for Thursday to Friday and then from Saturday to Tuesday to come up with a couple of Coral 4+ Acca Boost compatible accumulators. These are outlined below.

First International Acca

  • Denmark v Panama – Home Win
  • Argentina v Italy – Home Win
  • Germany v Spain – Draw
  • Netherlands v England – Draw
  • Poland v Nigeria – Home Win

Place this bet with Coral and you would receive odds of 43.79/1 on the selections shown, which means that a £10 bet with Coral would earn you £437.90 if the bet is a winner. Furthermore , you would also receive a free bet worth £43.79 as part of he 4+ Acca Boost promotion.

Second International Acca

  • Mexico v Iceland – Home Win
  • Northern Ireland v South Korea – Draw
  • Sweden v Chile – Draw
  • Japan v Ukraine – Home Win
  • Germany v Brazil – Home Win

This second selection from Coral Sport is backable at odds of 79.64/1 which means a £10 stake would return £796.40 if your bet is a winner. That would also mean a free bet worth £74.64 on top of your standard winnings as part of the 4+ Acca Boost Promotion.

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Friday 23rd March

Netherlands v England

Netherlands Squad

  • Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Barcelona), Jeroen Zoet (PSV), Marco Bizot (AZ)
  • Defenders: Stefan de Vrij (Lazio), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Kenny Tete (Lyon), Patrick Van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Nathan Ake (Bournemouth), Mattijs De Ligt (Ajax), Tim Fosu Mensah (Crystal Palace), Hans Hateboer (Atalanta)
  • Midfielders: Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool), Kevin Strootman (Roma), Tonny Vilhena (Feyenoord), Davy Propper (Brighton), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Donny van de Beek (Ajax), Guus Til (AZ)
  • Attackers: Ryan Babel (Besiktas), Memphis Depay (Lyon), Quincy Promes (Spartak Moscow), Bas Dost (Sporting), Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord), Justin Kluivert (Ajax), Wout Weghorst (AZ)

England Squad

  • Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (West Ham), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Jack Butland (Stoke), Nick Pope (Burnley)
  • Defenders: Kyle Walker (Man City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Danny Rose (Tottenham), John Stones (Man City), James Tarkowski (Burnley), Alfie Mawson (Swansea), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Harry Maguire (Leicester)
  • Midfielders: Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (WBA), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool), Dele Alli (Tottenham), Raheem Sterling (Man City), Ashley Young (Man Utd), Jesse Lingaard (Man Utd), Lewis Cook (Bournemouth)
  • Attackers: Danny Welbeck (Arsenal), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Marcus Rashford (Man Utd)

England have a poor record against the Netherlands, especially in recent times but it is fair to say that as the Dutch didn’t make the World Cup Finals this summer after fluffing qualification, this is not the strongest Dutch side that an England team will have faced.

The Dutch do have some real talent in midfield in particular and their central defensive partnership looks solid, but they lack goals in attack and their goalkeeping situation is far from ideal, with their first choice sitting on the bench most weeks at Barcelona.

England are likely to play an experimental team with such a large squad, it is clear that Gareth Southgate wants to explore several options across both these games. As such I see this as being a game that won’t be played at full tilt, especially with so many key club games coming up and with both managers eyeing the future. That said, with home advantage, I’d back the Dutch to win this game, or England to perhaps snatch a draw.

Tuesday 27th March

England v Italy

Italy Squad –

  • Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Gianlugi Donnarumma (Milan), Mattia Perin (Genoa)
  • Defenders: Leonardo Bonucci (Milan), Matteo Darmian (Man Utd), Mattia De Sciglio (Juventus), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham), Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea), Leonardo Spinazzola (Atalanta), Daniele Rugani (Juventus), Gian Marco Ferrari (Sampdoria)
  • Midfielders: Marco Parolo (Lazio), Marco Verrati (Paris St Germain), Giacomo Bonaventura (Milan), Roberto Gagliardini (Inter), Jorginho (Napoli), Bryan Cristante (Atalanta), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma)
  • Attackers: Antonio Candreva (Inter), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Andrea Belotti (Torino), Simone Verdi (Bologna), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Patrick Cutrone (Milan)

England Squad is the same 27-man squad as for the Netherlands game

This game promises to be a real acid test for some of the players in Gareth Southgate’s squad. England’s record against Italy in recent times is awful, with just three wins since 1973 and in all the top games that have mattered, Italy have tended to come out on top. Luigi Di Biagio is still rebuilding his team after missing out on the World Cup this summer, thanks to defeat to Sweden, but the former Italian international is likely to build a hardworking, battling team much in his own style.

At home England always expect to win, but their record against Italy is poor and I think Southgate will have more issues at hand than the result, namely looking at some fringe squad players such as Mawson, Tarkowski, Gomes, Pope and Cook to see if they could make a late charge into his squad for the summer.

I have to be honest though and say that although England have home advantage, I am never that confident when they face Italy and I think that this one will either finish in a rather mundane draw, or the Italians may just nick it by a single goal.

 


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