10 international matches to keep track of this week

Ronaldo Portugal

England v Scotland isn't the only tasty encounter but is one of the ten to look out for. With several Chelsea stars set to feature in Belgium's exciting friendly with France, while Manchester United heroes past and present go head to head when Robin van Persie and Cristiano Ronaldo face off.

Here are 10 to watch...

Portugal v Netherlands

European Championship semi-finalists v World Cup finalists, expect plenty of superstars on show and a tightly contested friendly with Ronaldo and Nani lining up for Portugal, with Van Persie, Sniejder and co for the Dutch.

Belgium v France

It might only be a friendly, but this friendly will test the credentials of an exciting Belgium side who are hotly tipped to go far at next year’s World Cup in Brazil. France are difficult opposition and will be a stern test given their pedigree.

Italy v Argentina

A mouth-watering clash on paper as these two sides share six World Cups between them. Italy will have the precision and wonderful simplicity of Pirlo against the swashbuckling play of Messi.

Sweden v Norway

This feels a bit like a derby, though it is a friendly both sides will be desperate to get one over on their neighbours – with Sweden favourites, can Norway get one over their near neighbours?

Wales v Republic of Ireland

A vital friendly for both sides. Ireland need to address a few issues ahead of their crucial qualifiers against Sweden and Austria whilst Wales will want to build some momentum for a strong finish in their group.

Ecuador v Spain

It seems that any game involving the current European and World Champions is worth a watch, though Ecuador are no slouches and will provide a stern test.

Northern Ireland v Russia

The only qualifier taking place this week with Northern Ireland desperate to cause an upset against favourites Russia who can leapfrog Portugal at the top with a win. Northern Ireland are aiming to climb above Azebaijan into fourth spot.

Germany v Paraguay

Germany probably has the most exciting domestic league and national side in the world at the moment and seem to be Spain’s biggest threat at next year’s World Cup. Paraguay will be keen to be their setback against Ecuador behind them.

Colombia v Serbia

Colombia are well positioned in their qualification campaign for the World Cup, and face a tough Serbian side as preparation for the next crucial qualifier with Radamel Falcao leading the line against Serbia’s prolific defence which includes Branislav Ivanovic, Alexander Kolorov and Neven Subotic.

And last but not least:

England v Scotland

The first time these two have met since the Euro 2000 play-off which England just edged. It’s been a long time, and though England favourites. Depending on how both sides approach the game, this coudld be difficult to call.

images: © Tai Gray, © jbagley

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