Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This Week's Pointless Yet Exciting Friendlies

International friendlies are at times warranted. These fixtures are often critical for national team setups in preparing for qualifiers and tournaments. But now? In February? Between league, domestic cup, and European cup play? The timing of today and tomorrow's friendlies is terrible. Club coaches have every right to be furious at national teams for trying to yank star players midweek, with crucial club fixtures coming up. Why are these games being played? They seem pointless.

However, there are some awesome friendlies on the docket:

Romania vs. Ukraine

This regional battle begins today at 1:30 pm EST.

Croatia vs. Czech Republic
Another regional fixture starting tomorrow at 11:45 am EST.

Turkey vs. South Korea

A rematch of the 2002 World Cup 3rd place match, South Korea will want revenge after being undone by Hakan Sukur after just 11 seconds. This match begins tomorrow at 1 pm EST.

Denmark vs. England
The Danes have a cagey past with England, drubbing the powerhouse in a similar friendly 4-1 in 2005. The fireworks start tomorrow at 2:15 pm EST.

Germany vs. Italy

In a rematch of possibly the most exciting semifinal in World Cup history, the Germans square off against regional foes Italy. The Italian squad will be highly provisional, as some newcomers will get their shot at a first cap. I expect the same from the Germans. It should be a cracker of a match. 2:45 pm EST tomorrow.

France vs. Brazil

These massive international rivals will do battle tomorrow at 2:45 pm EST. They have faced one another in the biggest games at the World Cup, so there is obvious bad blood.

Argentina vs. Portugal

Messi vs. Ronaldo...Another chance for journalists to pit the two players against each other and sort out the eternal question, who's better? I find this comparison extremely persistent and annoying. Nonetheless, it should be an exciting game. 2:45 pm EST tomorrow.

NOTE: USA vs. Egypt is cancelled due to the ongoing protests in Egypt.

Enjoy these pointless friendlies, mis amis!

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