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Six games to watch during the international break

Just a few weeks on from the last one, our second international break of the season rolls around.

While this isn’t usually the most popular weekend on the football calendar, there is still plenty to enjoy. All around the world, there are huge games to come.

Here are six games worth keeping an eye on.

Netherlands vs France (Friday, October 13, 7.45 pm)

Two of Europe’s biggest national teams clash on Friday, as France travel to the Johan Cruyff Arena to face Netherlands.

The visitors are one of only three remaining teams with a 100% record in qualifying for the 2024 European Championships, alongside Scotland and Portugal.

A win here will seal their place in next summer’s tournament if Greece fail to beat Republic of Ireland.

But this game has far more significance for the home side. The Oranje are currently level on points with Greece, above them on head-to-head record alone. If Ronald Koeman’s side loses, they run the risk of failing to qualify directly for the competition.

The reverse fixture was a resounding 4-0 victory for France, with Kylian Mbappe starring. If they can reproduce this, they will send a strong message to the rest of Europe.

Wrexham vs Salford City (Saturday, October 14, 3.00 pm)

In a game that is an absolute dream for headline writers, two of League Two’s most publicised sides will face each other this weekend.

Wrexham, owned by Hollywood duo Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, host the ‘Class of 92’s Salford City.

Wrexham’s return to the English Football League has begun fairly well. As things stand, they sit inside the play-off spots with 20 points from their opening 12 outings.

Salford haven’t made such an impressive start, residing in 13th place. However, they have won each of their last four in all competitions, scoring 11 goals in that time. It should be an interesting match.

United States vs Germany (Saturday, October 14, 8.00 pm)

As the hosts of the tournament, Germany are guaranteed qualification for Euro 2024.

This will come as a relief to them, as their form over the last year has been nothing short of disastrous – from their last six outings, they have lost four and won just one.

This run of results was enough to see Hansi Flick ousted from his position as manager. Replacing him is the man who took his place at Bayern Munich – Julian Nagelsmann.

Die Mannschaft undoubtedly have one of the most talented squads in Europe. However, their recent record at tournaments is dreadful, last winning a knockout tie in 2016.

If Nagelsmann can get them back on track, they will be contenders next summer. His international debut comes against the United States on Saturday.

The Stars and Stripes are a tough team to face, going unbeaten in their last 13 matches. Nagelsmann will be eager to make a fast start, but he can’t expect a comfortable game.

Also see: US vs Germany preview.

Norway vs Spain (Sunday, October 15, 7.45 pm)

When Group A was drawn, many expected these two teams to occupy the automatic qualification spots. However, Scotland’s surprise run of results has forced the pair to scrap for second place.

Spain hold the upper hand, sitting two points above Sunday’s opponents with a game in hand. For Norway, a defeat in this game will almost certainly leave them outside the top two.

Erling Braut Haaland has risen to stardom in recent years, establishing himself as the game’s most prolific goalscorer. Despite this, he has yet to feature in a major international competition.

If Norway fail to qualify, he will have to wait until he is at least 25 for his first taste of tournament football.

England vs Italy (Tuesday, October 17, 7.45 pm)

In a repeat of Euro 2020’s final, England and Italy clash again at Wembley Stadium. As two of Europe’s largest footballing nations, both were fancied to qualify with relative ease.

The Three Lions have met expectations, taking 13 points from a possible 15. By contrast, the Azzurri are at risk of missing out, sitting level on points with Ukraine and North Macedonia.

For Gareth Southgate’s side, this is an opportunity to prove that they can regularly beat the top sides – a criticism often aimed at the former Aston Villa man.

They won the reverse fixture 2-1 in Naples, but this wasn’t enough to keep the doubters quiet.

For Italy, this game means a lot more. Having missed out on the last two World Cups, they will be desperate to secure qualification and defend their title.

Uruguay vs Brazil (Wednesday, October 18, 1.00 am)

If European football isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other options.

World Cup qualifying is well underway in South America, and two of the continent’s most prestigious nations are set to go head-to-head this week.

Uruguay, now managed by Marcelo Bielsa, have made a mixed start to their qualifying campaign. They defeated Chile 3-1 in their opening game but followed this up with a defeat to Ecuador.

As for Brazil, they took maximum points from their opening two outings. However, the performances haven’t been as encouraging as the results suggest this year.

They have lost to Morocco and Senegal in friendlies, while they needed a last-minute winner to defeat Peru.

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