The Must-See Games This International Break 16/10
Tuesday’s round of World Cup qualifying brings some excellent match-ups in Europe between some top nations along with a fierce battle in Asia.
These two Western European neighbours will resume their hostilities from the quarterfinals of the 2012 European Championships, where the Spanish went on to lift the trophy. Spain are on an incredible 24-game winning streak in World Cup and Euro qualifying, while Les Bleus have only won two of their past six games, including a defeat to Japan last week. Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema will be in familiar surroundings, while Andres Iniesta is back for Spain after being rested against Belarus.
Iran v South Korea Asian World Cup qualifiers, 6.30pm (CET)
Whenever Team Melli play at home in World Cup qualifying, expect a huge crowd at the Azadi Stadium. National team boss Carlos Queiroz remains fairly popular with Iranian fans but his charm is beginning to fade after the disappointing goalless home draw with Qatar, followed by an awful loss away to Lebanon. South Korea are one of Asia’s top sides, and this group’s favourite for top spot, so this is a huge challenge in front of an expectant crowd. Iran missed the 2010 World Cup but they won’t accept missing another.
Die Mannschaft are fresh from a 6-1 hammering of Ireland in Dublin and will be in the mood for more on their home turf, making this a difficult assignment for Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Swedish side. Both sides bring perfect records so far in qualifying in Group C into this game, although Sweden have had far easier games against Kazakhstan and Faroe Islands, while Germany have tackled Euro 2012 competitors Austria and Ireland and won both away from home.
Another strong Scandanavian nation is on the road to an established European nation in this encounter in Group B. The Danes, who defeated the Netherlands at the Euros, have drawn both their group games so far, 0-0 at home to the Czech Republic and 1-1 away to Bulgaria, so they’ll be keen to stay in touch with the Azzurri who eased past Armenia on Friday, but drew with Bulgaria earlier in qualifying.
Roy Hodgson’s side face one of their toughest tasks in Group H away to Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland who have a wealth of talent including Robert Lewandowski. England have seven points from three games so far, with the 1-1 home draw with Ukraine a blemish on their record but they’ll greet back Steven Gerrard, who should add valuable support to Wayne Rooney. Poland have four points from two games, but are hit by injury with skipper Jakub Blaszczykowski unavailable.
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