photo: Rafal Rusek / PressFocus
The latest round of international fixtures takes place in October, and this could offer certain teams the perfect opportunity to book their tickets to the European Championships next year. There are also a host of international friendlies to take place and some interesting fixtures against the top teams in the world.
But, which fixtures stand up of the page and will be the most lucrative to bet on with STS? Let’s take a look at the matchups that you can place a bet on over the week of international action.
Germany vs Argentina (Wednesday 9th October)
International football is sometimes lamented for being boring, but this fixture offers to be anything but that. Germany have enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance since their disappointing showing in the 2018 World Cup, while Argentina are still struggling to find their way. The South American giants did make it to the semi-finals of the Copa America over the summer, but they fell short against Brazil and had to settle for a third-place finish after beating Chile.
Germany are hoping to build some momentum as they still face a fight for an automatic place in the European Championships as they look to overcome the Netherlands and Northern Ireland. This fixture in Germany is one of the best over the international break, and it will be interesting to see how both sides fare when they come up against a high-quality opponent. Argentina will be without Lionel Messi who once again retired from the national side, which means there will be added pressure on the shoulders of Sergio Aguero. This could be a high scoring fixture and will be fascinating for the neutrals.
Netherlands vs Northern Ireland (Thursday 10th October)
The two other sides that are locked in the battle for an automatic spot in Germany’s group meet on Thursday evening, with the winner taking a massive step towards the finals. Northern Ireland have done remarkably well to remain in with a shout as we approach the final stages of the group, and a point here would make for a brilliant result. For a very long time, they were considered as the worst of the national sides in the United Kingdom, but they are comfortably the second-best nowadays. The talent that they have in the attacking areas means they have a chance, but their defensive capabilities will be put to the test by this fluent and pacey Netherlands side.
Holland have enjoyed a renaissance of their own over recent years after missing out on the 2018 World Cup and 2016 European Championships. They have placed their hopes in the hands of younger players, and the talents of Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt highlight that there is still a higher calibre of player being produced in the Netherlands. Both will be crucial to their chances in this fixture. The Netherlands enjoyed an excellent run in the Nations League but were ultimately overpowered by a Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Portugal in the final. They already have a playoff spot should they fail to progress to the Euros automatically, but this will be a good marker to see how far they have come. They have all the talent in their squad to inflict a second defeat in a row on Northern Ireland. However, the visitors excel when being underdogs which makes for an intriguing matchup.
Czech Republic vs England (Friday 11th October)
The Three Lions can all but book their place in next summer’s European Championships with wins in the upcoming international break. The toughest task that they have during that time is a trip to the Czech Republic. The Czech’s are currently occupying second spot in the group, and that fixture is likely to be a stiffer assignment than the away clash with Bulgaria. Regardless, this England time is unlike any for generations so we can begin to get carried away a little and start planning our route into the final of Euro 2020; which will also be held at the home of football- Wembley.
Six points from the next two games would make the mission complete for Gareth Southgate and his young England side, and while the recent performances have been mixed; you would expect England to get over the line. The draw for the European Championships itself will take place after the next international break in November, but form will be crucial to assessing our chances next summer.
England will come into the fixtures having scored nine goals in their last round of qualifying matches, with cynics quick to point out that the Three Lions also conceded three in that win at St Mary’s against Kosovo.
The fixture against the minnows was certainly one that will live long in the memory, as in truth it was a bonkers game of football. England led 5-1 at half time after conceding inside one minute. Jadon Sancho was the star of the show for the Three Lions and his battle with Marcus Rashford for that starting place on the right-hand side of the forward three will certainly be a talking point for the next round of games, and one that Southgate must decide upon before the first game in June.
Denmark vs Switzerland (Saturday 12th October)
Group D comes into focus on Saturday evening as the teams in second and third spot meet in Copenhagen. Denmark currently sit in the second spot, and should they win, and results go their way they will leapfrog Ireland into top-spot. There is still a long way to go in this group, but there will be at least one side that will be disappointed to miss out on the finals next year.
Denmark have the quality of Christian Eriksen to call upon after he returned to full fitness a few weeks ago with Tottenham Hotspur, but they will need their fringe players to step up for this huge fixture. A win here for Denmark will hand them the initiative to go all the way to the Euros.
Meanwhile, Switzerland have endured a difficult qualifying round thus far, and have been held to two draws in their four fixtures. They enjoyed an excellent Nations League campaign, which saw them top a group also including Belgium. However, their dreams slowly fell apart in the Nations League finals as they were swept aside by a Ronaldo hat-trick against Portugal, before losing on penalties to England in the match for third spot. They are yet to get back into form since the summer competition, but this would be a very good game to return to their best. However, home advantage could be crucial, and Denmark won’t expect to lose this game.