No Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea? No Problem: Four Things To Look Out For In The International Break
The Premier League takes a much deserved break in order to accommodate the smorgasbord of international fixtures. Euro 2020 Qualifiers take precedent over the next week, with a host of friendlies to chomp on as well.
Of course, for those of us who proudly wear the Three Lions badge, we have England also in action.
We take a look at some of the things you need to keep your beady eye out for.
Die Mannschaft becomes ‘Die Boyschaft’?
Germany versus Serbia
Kick off at 20:45 (GMT) Wednesday 20th March 2019 at Volkswagen Arena
So this is Joachim Low’s new look squad? It’s so long to Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummerls, and Thomas Muller; all World Cup winners in 2014. Lukas Klostermann, Niklas Stark and Maximilian Eggestein have all come into the 23-man squad, and right-back Joshua Kimmich will be playing in midfield!
After their atrociously bad Russia last summer, can Die Mannschaft become that imposing threat we all previously knew and feared? Germany have had 28 meetings with Serbia, winning on 16 occasions, and are unbeaten in their last five matches on home turf.
Another Italian Stallion
Italy versus Finland
Kick off at 19:45 on Saturday March 23rd 2019 at Stadio Friuli
It’s all about the current Serie A top goalscorer, Fabio Quagliarella, making his return for the Azzurri in his first international game in nine years.
“Quagliarella? He keeps scoring so I couldn’t not call him up. He’s getting old, that’s clear, but I think he can still give us a hand,” says his national manager Roberto Mancini about his form for Sampdoria.
The 36-year-old Quadliarella, astonishingly in contention for the European Golden Shoe, with hope to feature in their first Euro 2020 qualifiers against Fulham. Remember, Italy missed out sensationally on the World Cup last year.
Sir Gareth, Again
England versus Czech Republic
Kick off at 19:45 on Friday 22nd March 2019 at Wembley Stadium
Ok, ok we’re a bit biased here, but we simply can’t wait to see Gareth Southgate’s side back in action.
An their opponents? Think back to that Czech Republic team of the 2000s to get your senses tingling; Jan Koller, Pavel Nedved, Petr Cech, Milan Baros. Inject it into my veins! Of course it’s nowhere near close to garnering the level of excitement that would have generated, but produces an interesting match-up, and see how Gareth Southgate’s side can kickoff 2019 after their summer extravagances. Unfortunately Marcus Rashford is now potentially the latest casualty to add a growing injury list for England.
Mick McCarthy’s First Game (Back)
Gibraltar versus Ireland
Kick-off at 17:00 on Saturday March 23rd 2019 at Victoria Stadium.
It’s the return of Big Mac, now with extra bacon. It’s McCarthy’s first game with Ireland in nearly 17 years, since a 2-1 defeat to Switzerland in October 2002. Since then, he’s managed Sunderland, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Ipswich Town.