International Friendlies Preview: Selected Matches


We’re just a few days away now from the biggest stage of them all, the FIFA World Cup. No country just goes straight into the World Cup without preparations, hence why we have some international friendlies to look forward to. We’ve selected the 10 biggest encounters as coaches look to get an idea of what they’re about to work with ahead of Russia 2018.

Friday 1 June

Tunisia 21/10
Draw 39/20 
Turkey 29/20 
(20:15)

Africa’s highest ranked team do battle this Friday night when they welcome Arab rivals, Turkey, to the Stade de Geneve. Tunisia have been in decent form as coach Nabil Maaloul prepares for a tough group in the World Cup. Turkey, despite all their stars, failed to book their place in Russia. Captain Arda Turan, Hakan Calhanoglu and Cenk Tosun were all lacklustre in their qualifiers. This will be an interesting tie between two sides who thrive on fast-paced attacking play, while also being as solid in defence. I cannot separate these two countries, and neither should you, back the draw here.

France 15/20 
Draw 5/2 
Italy 15/4 
(21:00)

The Allianz Riviera will host a spectacle of a tie when France do battle with Italy in an international friendly. Didier Deschamps will be looking to silence his doubters after snubbing many big-name stars ahead of the FIFA World Cup, and against a fearless Italian outfit will prove to be their toughest test yet. Roberto Mancini will be hoping to show his opponents what it would be like had Italy qualified with him at the helm. The former Man City and Zenit boss has called up some fine young Italians to the national team, as well as Mario Balotelli, who will feature for the first time since the 2014 World Cup. We all know how Mancini sets his team up, very attacking and almost un-Italian-like. Whether he will be able to stop France or not, remains to be seen. For value, back Over 2.5 Goals here at 21/20 – also seems to be the safest bet.

Egypt 47/10 
Draw 11/4
Colombia 6/10
(21:15)

A Mohamed Salah-less Egypt will be out to prove that they’re not a one-man team as everyone expects of them when they take on Colombia. The Egyptians’ most prolific star was injured in Liverpool’s final of the UEFA Champions League against Real Madrid, and it seems that Salah might be out for the start of Egypt’s World Cup campaign. Colombia have a star-studded team, including the likes of James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao, Davinson Sanchez, David Ospina and Barcelona’s Yerry Mina. On paper, they’re miles ahead of Egypt, and time will tell whether they’re ahead on the football pitch as well. With Salah out through injury, Egypt have virtually no chance. Back the visitors here.

Saturday 2 June


Austria 5/1  
Draw 31/10 
Germany 5/10 
(18:00)

Austria, who are usually seen as dark horses in any tournament they participate in, will be gutted on missing out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. They seek redemption when they host the current world champions, Germany. At the time of writing, Austria come into this game in superb form, winning their last five encounters. Germany, on the other hand, don’t need the form to back them up. Joachim Low’s men perform like a well-oiled machine and if they’re in the mood, Austria could be in trouble. The likes of Toni Kroos and Leroy Sane come off the back of stellar campaigns, while the quality of Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller and Sami Khedira can never be doubted. Germany are almost complete in every area of the pitch, and for that reason, they should come out on top in Austria.

England 9/20 
Draw 31/10 
Nigeria 6/1 
(18:15)

England face a tricky test at Wembley when they host African giants, Nigeria, this Saturday. The Three Lions tend to do well in their preparations for a major tournament, but at the big stage, they have a knack of crumbling. Nigeria will be out to gun the English down with their young squad, and being one of Africa’s biggest hopes of making it far in the World Cup, it’s games like these where they need to test themselves. Nigeria have plenty of players plying their trade in England, so they will come across a few familiar faces in their way as they look to upset the applecart. England’s last six games have all produced Under 2.5 Goals – and nothing seems to change my mind here – get on at 15/20.

Sunday 3 June

Mexico 7/20  
Draw 15/4 
Scotland 7/1 
(02:00)

This one is for the insomniac, with Mexico and Scotland squaring off at 2am on Sunday morning. Mexico will need to keep some players fresh, while Scotland will have nothing to play for, having missed out on the FIFA World Cup. Scotland named a very young and inexperienced team, headlined by West Brom’s Matt Phillips and Manchester United’s Scott McTominay. You can never doubt the Mexicans, especially with the Dos Santos brothers in the team, as well as Carlos Vela and Javier Hernandez. Experience should outclass the Scots here. My money is on Mexico to Win & Over 2.5 Goals at 13/20.

Brazil 9/20
Draw 31/10 
Croatia 57/10
(16:00)

FIFA World Cup favourites, Brazil, will test their might when they host Croatia on Sunday afternoon. The Selecao are likely to be without Neymar, who is still nursing that injury of his, but the quality that coach Tite has, should be enough to breeze past the Croats. Luka Modric will come up against his club teammate, Casemiro, after the pair won their third consecutive UEFA Champions League title together. Brazil are going to be favourites against almost any team they come up against, and rightfully so. With the talent they possess in their ranks, it will be tough to find a team that can stop them. Croatia are certainly not that team. Back Brazil on the (-1) Handicap here.

Spain 3/10  
Draw 38/10 
Switzerland 10/1 
(21:00)

Spain and Switzerland go pound for pound on Sunday night. Whenever these two teams meet, flashbacks of their 2010 FIFA World Cup match seem to come to mind, with the Swiss winning 1-0 against the soon-to-be champions at that time. Spain took a dip a few years later, but seem to be back at their best. As the saying goes, you’re only as good as your last game, and in theirs, they smashed six past Argentina. Switzerland also hit Panama for six in their last tie, so if form is anything to go by, we’re in for a goal-scoring spectacle. At 31/20, Both Teams to Score looks a profitable bet.

Monday 4 June

Italy 9/10  
Draw 49/20
Netherlands 3/1
(20:45)

Monday night serves a thrilling encounter between two of the best teams to miss out on this year’s FIFA World Cup. Two countries who are often in the mix to win the tournament, unfortunately will not contest against the big guns. Italy and the Netherlands have both suffered the consequences of their golden generation coming to an end. We no longer have the Francesco Totti’s and Robin Van Persie’s, but instead the Lorenzo Insigne’s and Memphis Depay’s. Still, this should be an exciting affair. My money is on the home side here.

Serbia 13/10
Draw 5/2
Chile 19/10  
(21:00)
Forecast Odds

We conclude proceedings with a Monday night showpiece between Serbia and Chile. If you had to expect one of these teams to be in the World Cup, most likely, your guess would be Chile. Sadly, you’d be wrong. In all fairness, both countries should be competing at the highest level, and with players like Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez, they really shouldn’t be missing out. Serbia will be no pushovers here and will show why they’re going to Russia. Stars like Nemanja Matic, Luka Milivojevic and Aleksandar Kolarov are the main stars in the team, while highly-rated Manchester United target, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, is another player we should keep our eyes on. Chile are in a shambles right now, so get on Serbia here!


TREBLE @ 7/1
France vs Italy Over 2.5 Goals 21/20
Germany Win 5/10
Spain vs Switzerland BTTS 31/20

Written by Jesse Nagel