Five Must-See Football Matches This International Weekend

Five Must-See Football Matches This International Weekend Photo: TT
France's Theo Hernandez, left, and France's Kylian Mbappe celebrate at the end of the UEFA Nations League semifinal soccer match between Belgium and France at the Juventus stadium

International football takes over this weekend, with World Cup qualifying in full swing with some nations close to sealing their spots, while the UEFA Nations League final is on Sunday evening.

Turkey v Norway

Friday 8:45pm European time - UEFA World Cup qualifying

It’s been a long time since either Turkey or Norway qualified for a World Cup, but both are firmly in contention along with the Netherlands in Group G. The Crescent Stars haven’t qualified since 2002, when they made the semi-finals, while Norway’s last appearance was in 1998. Erling Haaland’s influence has seen the Norwegians re-emerge at the top level, sitting on 13 points from six games, equal with the Dutch, with Turkey third on 11 points. This game will be crucial for both sides, who will still hope to finish top and qualify automatically.

Czech Republic v Wales

Friday 8:45pm European time - UEFA World Cup qualifying

Similarly in Group E, the Czech Republic haven’t made the big stage since 2006, while Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales have only ever qualified for one World Cup, back in 1958. Both sides appear to be playing for second spot, with Belgium streaking ahead with 16 points from six games. The Czechs have seven points from five games, with Wales level on points with a game in hand. After Gareth Bale’s hat-trick heroics in Belarus, the Welsh dropped points at home to lowly Estonia, while the Czechs were swept aside 3-0 by Belgium last time out.

Spain v France

Sunday 8:45pm European time - UEFA Nations League

Luis Enrique’s La Roja take on world champions France in the UEFA Nations League final in Milan. Les Bleus have had a lean run lately but bounced back from a two-goal deficit to win 3-2 over Belgium on Thursday, while Spain qualified after beating European champions Italy 2-1 on Wednesday with debutant Gavi impressing, along with Ferran Torres who scored a double. France are looking for silverware after bowing out of Euro 2020 disappointingly in the last 16 to Switzerland, while Spain lost in the semi-finals on penalties.

Colombia v Brazil

Sunday 11pm European time - CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying

Tite’s Brazil are well on their way to securing qualification for Qatar 2022, boasting a perfect record after nine games which they’ll hope to maintain with the tricky assignment away to Colombia in Barranquilla. Reinaldo Rueda’s side are under pressure in their race to qualify, despite being unbeaten in their past six qualifiers, sitting fifth (the playoff spot) with 14 points from 10 games. Colombia have drawn four of their past five qualifiers, although only one of those was at home, drawing 2-2 with Argentina. Brazil have only conceded once in their past six qualifiers.

Argentina v Uruguay

Sunday 1:30apm European time - CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying

Lionel Messi played as 2021 Copa America winners Argentina drew a blank in a 0-0 draw with Paraguay on Thursday so they’ll be out to get their campaign back on track at home to old rivals Uruguay. Argentina are unbeaten and second in qualifying, with 19 points from nine games, although they have not been their free-scoring normal selves under Lionel Scaloni, netting only 15 times. Uruguay are fourth in qualifying, unbeaten in their past six qualifiers, and will be sweating on Luis Suarez’s fitness after being replaced at half-time in the 0-0 draw with Colombia on Thursday.

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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