5 matches to watch during the upcoming international break

The best players in the world are in action this month
The best players in the world are in action this month
Aditya Hosangadi

Football fans often tend to dread the international break, but this particular month will play host to its fair share of exciting fixtures that can potentially enthral viewers across the world. With international football becoming increasingly competitive in the recent past, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe are all likely to feature for their countries over the next two weeks.

The UEFA Nations League has seen several intriguing fixtures over the past two months as the heavyweights of Europe look to strengthen their hold over the continent. Several teams have underperformed in the showpiece tournament and will want to prove a point this month.

The international break will also bear witness to a number of FIFA World Cup qualifiers as several registered CONMEBOL nations battle it out to qualify for the prestigious tournament in 2022. The likes of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay have revamped their squads this year and will want to put their best foot forward over the next couple of weeks.

With several intriguing fixtures taking place across the footballing world, the allure of international football is set to be an adequate antidote to a distinct dearth of club fixtures this month after an extraordinarily hectic year. Several national teams have their fortunes on the line this month and have plenty to play for in some particularly intriguing international fixtures.

#5 Argentina vs Paraguay (FIFA World Cup Qualifier)

Lionel Messi has a history with Paraguay
Lionel Messi has a history with Paraguay

Paraguay may not be a particularly high-profile team but the South American nation has certainly caused Argentina their fair share of problems in the recent past. Paraguay are one of the most effective teams against Argentina's style of play and Lionel Messi and his cohorts will have to find a way to penetrate the opposition's low block.

The previous meeting between these two sides in a dramatic group stage fixture in the 2019 Copa America saw Argentina held to a 1-1 draw by Paraguay. Lionel Messi did score on the day but did not find it easy to break down the staunch Paraguayan defence.

The Barcelona star will have plenty of support from the likes of Lautaro Martinez, Joaquin Correa, Angel di Maria, and Paulo Dybala, and his recent brace against Real Betis should hold him in good stead in the international break. Paraguay have thwarted Argentina before, however, and will want to make a statement against the South American giants.

#4 Croatia vs Portugal (UEFA Nations League)

Portugal face a stern test this week
Portugal face a stern test this week

Portugal have emerged as one of the most dangerous sides in Europe over the past few months and will be intent on allowing their young crop of players to take the reins in the UEFA Nations League.

The Iberian nation won the first edition of the competition and with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Felix in their ranks, Portugal have a blend of experience and youth that could potentially become the envy of the continent.

Croatia, on the other hand, have been struggling with their own transition to the next generation since their exhilarating run in the 2018 World Cup. Portugal thrashed the Croatians by a 4-1 margin in their previous meeting and will hope to manage a similar result when the two sides meet next week.

Also Read: Lazio 1-1 Juventus: Player Ratings as Caicedo stuns Pirlo's men with late equaliser | Serie A 2020-21

#3 Uruguay vs Brazil (FIFA World Cup Qualifier)

Neymar takes on Luis Suarez this week
Neymar takes on Luis Suarez this week

The FIFA World Cup qualifiers always seem to have an intriguing aura around them, particularly in South America. Brazil have managed to fulfil their burgeoning potential in recent months but will now come up against a well-drilled and formidable Uruguay outfit.

The return of Jose Gimenez and Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani will serve as a massive boost for Oscar Tabarez's side. Benfica striker and Barcelona target Darwin Nunez has also been called up to his national team after an exceptional start to the season with the Portuguese giants.

Brazil have plenty of attacking talent of their own but with Philippe Coutinho nursing an injury, the onus will be on a recently-recovered Neymar to pull the strings for Selecao. The Paris Saint-Germain winger is yet to resume training and will hope that he can return in time for this all-important clash.

#2 Spain vs Germany (UEFA Nations League)

Spain and Germany lock horns again this month
Spain and Germany lock horns again this month

Spain and Germany have been two of the most successful European teams in world football in the recent past and have a point to prove going into this UEFA Nations League fixture. Both sides are in a phase of transition at the moment and have able tacticians in Joachim Low and Luis Enrique to guide them through a tricky patch.

Spain snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat in the previous meeting between these two sides last month as Jose Gaya restored parity for Luis Enrique's outfit with the last kick of the game. With prodigious forward Ansu Fati injured, the former Barcelona manager has made a few changes to his squad and will want to pick up a crucial victory in this game.

Germany need to consolidate their standing in the UEFA Nations League table and could potentially move to the top of their group with a victory in this game. Spain have the same end to achieve and will have to be at their best against Joachim Low's new-look side.

#1 Portugal vs France (UEFA Nations League)

Portugal take on France this week
Portugal take on France this week

Portugal are the only team that make two entries on this list and for good reason. In France, Fernando Santos will be up against one of the most settled line-ups in international football and will have to bank on his young stalwarts to deliver against the reigning World Champions.

France might not be the incredible force they were in the 2018 World Cup but still boast one of the best squads in Europe. The French team is littered with an immense array of talent and Portugal will have to be wary of the like of Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann.

Cristiano Ronaldo picked up a niggle against Lazio and remains doubtful for this fixture. With their talisman potentially unavailable, Portugal need to put in a complete performance to take something away from this game.

Also Read: Portugal vs Andorra prediction, preview, team news and more | International Friendly 2020

Edited by Aditya Hosangadi


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