5 top friendlies to watch out for during the international break
A few times every season, fans of football clubs all over the world groan at the prospect of an international break.
Most of the time, friendlies between national teams are considered an unnecessary burden on players: they don't count for trophies at the end of the season, important players pick up injuries, and they often fail to inspire the excitement and passion that makes up most of the sport.
Every 4 years however, international breaks take on an added importance. Much has been said and speculated ahead of the 2018 World Cup, without much conclusion.
The thing that sets this World Cup apart is the absence of a set of clear favourites. There are the usual suspects: Spain, Germany, Brazil and France. You also have Belgium, Portugal, Argentina, Italy and Uruguay and several other teams that could pull off historic World Cup triumphs for their respective countries.
This break could well be a precursor to their World Cup performances, and an indication of things to come.
With only a few months left to go for the big event, teams have very little game time to get their act together and gel as a unit. Here's a look at 5 of the many important international matches taking place in the next few days.