Italy Hosts England, Brazil & Ghana Face Off & More  – BetKing Blog

International Break Preview

With club football on a 2 week break, we turn our attention to the international teams as most of them get ready for the World Cup in Qatar. The European teams will all be involved in the UEFA Nations League while other countries will engage each other in friendlies. BetKing has all these games covered and a lot more. Here’s a look at some of the top games this weekend.  

 

Italy v England (UEFA Nations League) 

Date: 23rd September (Friday) 

Time: 7:45pm (WAT) 

England didn’t have the best of starts to their UEFA Nations League campaign. They sit at the very bottom of League A Group 3 with 2 draws and 2 losses in their opening 4 games. Even more embarrassingly, they’ve scored just once in these 4 games; an 88th minute equalising penalty by Harry Kane in the draw at Germany.  So far, Gareth Southgate hasn’t exactly been successful in integrating new faces into the national team. Their shocking 4-0 loss at home to Hungary featured Aaron Ramsdale, Marc Guéhi, Conor Gallagher & Jarrod Bowen in the starting line up. This quartet of players had been very impressive for their respective clubs but struggled to replicate that form for the country.  

The Italians haven’t been in the best form since lifting the EUROs last year. In the 14 games that have followed their penalty shootout victory over England, they have won just 4 games, lost 4 games and drawn 6 games. In their very last game against Germany, they suffered a heavy 5-2 defeat which further angered a fanbase still hurting from missing out on the Qatar World Cup. However, the Italians are just 2 points shy of group leaders Hungary and have a realistic chance of topping the group if they win their next 2 games. For England, they know finishing bottom of the group would see them drop to League B in the next edition of the tournament and should be highly motivated to avoid that. With both teams coming into this game on the back of heavy defeats after giving up a combined 9 goals in those games, the goals are expected to flow at both ends.  

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Germany v Hungary (UEFA Nations League) 

Date: 23rd September (Friday) 

Time: 7:45pm (WAT) 

In recent years, the Hungarians are a side that have thrived on being underestimated. In last year’s EUROs, they finished bottom of Group F which included Germany, France and Portugal. However, they did earn a respectable 2 points after drawing with France and Germany; two games they were never behind in. Currently, they sit on top of their group in the Nations League after 2 wins and 2 draws in their opening 4 games. They beat England twice (1-0 & 4-0 away from home) and held Germany to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture after holding them to just 1 shot on target despite the Germans controlling the ball 67% of the time.Hungary has some players who are very familiar with the Germans which has always worked to their advantage. RB Leipzig’s Dominik Szoboszlai has 11 goals and 14 assists in 54 games for the club helping them win the DFB Pokal last year while teammate, Péter Gulácsi was among 5 goalkeepers on a joint-league-high 10 clean sheets in last season’s Bundesliga and has been tough for the Germans to get past.  

The hosts will be looking forward to this game with a lot of confidence. For the Bayern players most especially, a chance to get away from the club after a challenging few weeks in the Bundesliga has been seen as a relief for some. Germany are unbeaten in 13 matches under Hansi Flick, winning 9 of those games and a win on Friday would send them top of the group. One player the German fans would be excited to watch is 19-year-old Jamal Musiala who has scored 6 goals and created 3 assists for Bayern in 10 games this season.  

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What is the Nations League and how does the Nations League work? Previous winners and format explained | Sporting News Australia

Brazil v Ghana (International Friendly) 

Date: 23rd September (Friday) 

Time: 7:30pm (WAT) 

The Brazilians come into this game with an abundance of riches in attack and on the back of an excellent form which has seen them win 5 games in a row. They are led by Neymar Jr. who has 11 goals & 8 assists in his 11 games for PSG this season while Real Madrid duo Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo keep getting better with each game. Despite the omission of Arsenal’s “Gabriel” trio of Jesus, Magalhaes and Martinelli whose fine form has seen them top of the English Premier League, the Samba Boys have more than enough quality to win this. The Brazilains don’t just have a scary attack (18 goals scored in their last 5 games), they have a tight defense that has given up just 1 goal in that 5-game period.   

The Ghanians, on the other hand, come into this game in a very shaky form. Regardless of their worrying form, the Ghanian fans are looking forward to this game with a lot of excitement. Besides facing arguably the biggest name in the history of international football – which is a proper test ahead of the World Cup – there’s an excitement around watching Ajax’s youngster Mohammed Kudus (7 goals and 1 assist) who has been named in the squad and the potential debuts to Brighton & Hove Albion’s Tariq Lamptey, Southampton’s Mohammed Salisu and Athletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams who recently declared for the Black Stars. 

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Argentina v Honduras (International Friendly) 

Date: 24th September (Saturday) 

Time: 1:00am (WAT) 

The Argentine national team is arguably the most in-form team in the world right now. Their last loss came in a 2-0 defeat to rivals Brazil in the semi-final of the Copa America back in 2019. Since then, they have won 23 and drawn 10 in 33 games making them one of the favourites for the World Cup on the back of Lionel Messi. Opponents Honduras don’t strike the most fear but they’ve been on decent form by their standards with 2 wins and 3 losses in their last 5 games. Their last match saw them beat a very talented Canadian side 2-1 in the CONCACAF nations league.  

While their opponents have put up admirable fights in recent games, the Argentines are expected to win this convincingly with what is arguably their most balanced side in decades. With players like Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martinez, Alexis Mac Allister, Lisandro Martinez, Cristian Romero, Angel Di Maria & Paulo Dybala all available for selection, it’s hard to see the Hondurans getting anything out of this.  

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Japan v USA (International Friendly) 

Date: 23rd September (Friday) 

Time: 1:25pm (WAT) 

These two teams meet in Düsseldorf, Germany in what is expected to be a tight contest. For the Americans, their biggest names haven’t enjoyed the best start to the season so far with Christian Pulisic and Sergiño Dest struggling for game time in Chelsea and AC Milan respectively while Zack Steffen & Weston McKennie have both struggled for form. Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams have had nice starts to life in the Premier League which is music to USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter’s ears. Jesús Ferreira and Josh Sargent have also been called up and are good options to select from. Jesús Ferriera has 18 goals in 30 league games for FC Dallas in the MLS while Josh Sargent has 6 goals and 1 assist in 10 games for Norwich City in the Championship.  

The Japanese come into this game with 2 wins and a draw in their last 3 games having scored 9 goals and kept clean sheets in all 3 games. The Samurai Blue have also shown they can be a tough team to play against with a pair of 4-1 wins against Paraguay and Ghana back in June and a narrow 1-0 loss to a star studded Brazil side, thanks to a late Neymar penalty.  

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Morocco v Chile (International Friendly) 

Date: 23rd September (Friday) 

Time: 8:00pm (WAT) 

The major news for the African side heading into this game is the return of Noussair Mazraoui & Hakim Ziyech to the national team. The pair of players had fallen out with former Morocco manager, Vahid Halilhodzic and had decided to temporarily quit the national team. With Walid Regragui now in charge, those bridges have been mended. The good news aside, there are still concerns by some fans which are understandable. With just 2 friendlies before the World Cup in Qatar, new national team manager Walid Regragui has very little time to get his team ready for the big tournament and some sections of the fans and football fans fear this could be disastrous for the national team in Qatar. Regardless, having led Wydad AC to the Moroccan League title and CAF Champions League double last season, there’s a lot of faith in the 46-year-old manager.  

The Chileans are going through a transition at the National team level. They failed to qualify for the world cup in Qatar after finishing 7th in the CONMEBOL table and have lost each of their last 5 international games conceding 10 goals and, surprisingly, scoring none in those 5.  

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Author: Clayton Kuhn