Scouting for Fixtures: Mar 20 – Mar 26

Scouting for fixtures is a weekly blog for people who love the beautiful game. As well as seeking out the most entertaining games, each preview weaves the clubs into a greater football narrative. Each article is a selection of hand picked upcoming matches worldwide that week, which looks set for 90 minutes of non-stop action. 

All times are GMT.

As I stare across the barren landscape, amiss of Premier League, La Liga or any other big name league, the terrifying realisation finally sinks in. It’s international week. If you too are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, let these games tide you over. But don’t get your hopes up. Think of it as filler; and when you look back on this week it’ll just feel like a bad, forgotten dream.

Millonarios vs Santa Fe ( Mon 20 00:30 )

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Last week we had the Medellin derby and now we travel 419km to the capital derby. Unlike their European counterparts, the South American leagues from what I can see, are indifferent to the international week. It makes less sense considering it’s the same week they are participating in the World Cup Qualifiers, but who cares when you have a derby on the cards. Located in Bogota, football acts as an adhesive in an otherwise divided city. Derbies like this are a great opportunity to experience football outside our bubble. Often a jump off point for superstars; former players that perfected their craft in Bogota includes René Higuita (also known as the scorpion-kick keeper), Carlos Valderrama and the great Alfredo di Stéphano. Both sides have come to represent the rich modern Colombia while Santa Fe sees themselves as a grounded and rougher side of the Capital. A rivalry like this undoubtedly has players going for the oppositions shins as much as they go for the ball. If all else fails you might get a 2-for-1. Football with a chance of WWE.

Germany vs England ( Wed 22 19:45 )

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It’s true that this is more of a rivalry in an Englishman’s eyes than that of a German’s. The champions league fixture between Arsenal vs Bayern Munich (2-10) is a microcosm of the relationship between the English football team and the German one.

In fact the managers are also a microcosm:

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England manager Gareth Southgate (left) visibly distressed by the ferocity of German manager Joachim Lowe’s (right) finger, and the orifice of which it is currently excavating.

x1 League Cup (Aston Villa)

x1 DFB-Pokal (VfB Stuttgart)

x1 League Cup (Middlesborough)

x1 Austrian Football Bundesliga (Tirol Innsbruck)

x1 Championship (Crystal Palace)

x1 Austrian Supercup (Austria Wein)

x1 FIFA World Cup Winner (2014)

x1 Sport Bild German Sports Manager of the Year

x2 German Football Manager of the Year

x1 FIFA World Coach of the Year

x1 IFFHS World’s Best National Coach

x1 L’Équipe Sports Manager of the Year

x3 Finger up the nose

x1 (at least that we know of) cheeky bum sniff

With England’s ever growing injury list, it gives the likes of Defoe, Antonio, Livermore, Ward-Prowse, Keane and Forster the chance to flex their muscles. Though whether it amounts to anything largely depends on if Germany chose to, or not, even bother.

Uruguay vs Brazil ( Thu 23 23:00 )

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The CONMEBOL, otherwise known as the CONfederación SudaMEricana de FútBOL – because that’s how acronyms work – is into its 13th round of fixtures out of 18. How it works is that the top 4 will get a spot in the 2018 World Cup, while the 5th place team will go into an inter-continental play-off between Asia, North  & Central Americas and the Caribbean and Oceania teams.

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Uruaguay winning would be the perogative for a spectator with no stake in the game, as Brazil’s lead would dissipate to 1 point. With potentially Suarez, Neymar, Godin and a number of elite players fielded on Thursday, hopefully, this and a few games listed below could tide you over to the next week.

If your withdrawal symptoms are acting up again:

Argentina vs Chile ( Thu 23 23:00 )

Ireland vs Wales ( Fri 24 19:45 )

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Scouting for Fixtures: Mar 21 – Mar 27

Scouting for fixtures is a weekly blog for people who love the beautiful game. It comes out every Sunday and hand picks upcoming matches worldwide that week, which look set  for 90 minutes of non-stop action.

All times are in GMT.

 

 

1. Chile vs Argentina ( Thu 24 23:30 )

Argentina v Chile - FIFA Qualifiers

The foreboding international week returns, and while it usually delivers on drab football and has a sense of pointlessness about it all, this time there’s reason to be exited. While the world cup is still two years away, the qualifications are well underway. A quick run down on how it all works: The 10 highest ranking CONMEBOL teams go into a league where all teams play each other (home and away legs); the top 4 automatically qualify for the world cup while 5th place goes into inter-confederation play offs to decide their fate. As it currently stands 7 games in, both teams are in a precarious situation. Chile are 5th while Argentina sit 6th (where they fail to qualify). Both teams need to pull their act together because if they don’t we’ll be seeing the likes of Ecuador and Paraguay taking centre stage come 2018. A world cup without Messi, Higuain, Di Maria, Aguero, Tevez, Sanchez, Vidal and a personal superstar of mine, Sergio Romero, would be as disappointing as it could get. The heat is on for both teams to win, as nations with so much experience failing to qualify for a major international competition is humiliating; *cough* Netherlands *cough*.

 

 

2. Netherlands vs France ( Fri 25 19:45 )

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Didier Deschamps men host a crumbling Netherlands side without captain Arjen Robben and main striker Robin Van Persie. France too are without their star striker Karim Benzema, potentially leaving Real Madrid on a free to jail, what a steal. That opens up the striker spot for the endless talent of young french strikers to prove themselves internationally. The same applies to the young Dutchmen, as the aforementioned attempt to qualify for Euro 2016 was summed up by the flying dutchman’s precision header, placing the ball right into the corner, just a shame it was an own goal and 0-3 down to Czech Republic. Since then Danny Blind is looking to blood in the youth players, Memphis Depay and Luciano Narsingh the bright spots. We could see the potent French front 3 of Coman, Griezmann and Martial starting for the first time ever; with enough talent between them to put a few past this Netherlands side in a dire shortage of confidence.

 

 

3. Brazil vs Uruguay ( Sat 26 00:45 )

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We head back to South America and the world cup qualifiers as the two heavyweights face off in Recife. Both teams posses a wealth of talent between them and have the two highest goal tallies at a combined total of 16 in 8 matches. Both sets of fans look forward to this long rivalry littered with it’s fair share of controversial moments; celebrating its 100 year anniversary this Saturday. While Uruguay is the more rounded side and it’s evident to see the 7-1 still has a lasting affect on Dunga’s men, don’t discount the home side as Willian and Costa have been pulling the strings from the wings. The standout player in Uruguay is the centre back in the form of his life, Diego Godin, with 3 goals and clean sheets in 4 games. It’ll be a good measure of how both teams fare in the Copa America tournament as both are favourites to win the cup in the summer.

 

 

4. Germany vs England ( Sat 26 19:45 )

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While historically this is supposed to be a rivalry, the Germans aren’t going to be too bothered by this fixture and may start some of their youth players while England play a full strength team, and still lose. While the German’s couldn’t care less about this rivalry between England, as Holland are the ‘true enemy’, England desperately hold onto one of the few fixtures that hold anything close to historical significance to the fans. Its had its moments with the world cup final (1966) the main highlight where England did a smash and grab, since then Germany have only lost twice against the Lions in all competitions. Nevertheless expect a big turnout in Berlin as the world cup winners take on an up and coming England team ahead of Euro 2016.

 

 

 

Other Mentions:

Wales vs N.Ireland ( Thu 24 19:45 )

Melbourne Victory vs Western Sydney Wanderers FC ( Fri 25 08:40 )

Santos FC vs Sao Paulo ( Sun 27 22:30 )

 

Feel like I missed out any matches or wanna give me any feedback? Comment Below.