Sneak Peak at Wednesday’s Series of International Friendlies

6 Feb
europol

Image via Getty Images

Monday was a very sad day in the fútbol world. In a press conference at The Hague, the European police intelligence agency, Europol, stated that in a 19-month investigation called Operation Veto, it discovered evidence of match-fixing in 680 games. The second thing that came to my mind after my initial astonishment was: all of my ruined manicures for nothing!! You see, I always pick at my nail polish when I watch high profile matches due to my anxiety fits.

To the corrupt people guilty of match-fixing: Please enjoy this sport for its natural beauty. Don’t kill it for us with your avarice, because the truth will come out.

On a brighter note, this has been a quiet week in terms of club matches, because our boys are getting ready to play with their national teams on February 6, 2013 (today or tomorrow, depending on your time zone) in a series of international friendlies. Here is a list of the attention-grabbing matches, including a list of notable absentees.

Spain v. Uruguay
Time: 1:oo p.m. ET
Location
: Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar
Spain and Uruguay have not met since 2005. Uruguay has never beaten Spain. Perhaps things will change this time?
Spain Absentees: Xavi Hernández (hamstring injury), Xabi Alonso (groin injury), Fernando El Niño Torres (didn’t make the cut), Raul Albiol (same back luck as El Niño), Jesús Navas (completes the unfortunate trio), Iker Casillas (broken arm)
Uruguay absentees: None. Stars Luis Suarez, Diego Forlán and Edinson Cavani will grace the pitch with their presence.

Sweden v. Argentina
More like Zlatan Ibrahimovic v. Lionel Messi!
Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Location: Nya Ullevi Stadion, Sweden
Sweden Absentees: Johan Elmander, Mikael Antonsson and Joel Ekstrand
Argentina Absentees: Enzo Perez (ankle injury)

Netherlands v. Italy
The Dutch have been victorious against the Italians only 3 out of 17 times.
Time:
2:30 p.m. ET
Location:
Amsterdam Arena, Netherlands
Netherlands Absentees:
Michel Vorm, Nigel de Jong, Erik Pieters, Luciano Narsingh are out with injuries.Rafael Van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder, Argen Robben, Maarten Stekelenburg, and John Heitinga didn’t make the cut.
Italy Absentees: Sebastian Giovinco (thigh problem). Giorgio Chiellini, Federico Balzaretti, Christian Maggio and Claudio Marchisioare also injured.

England v. Brazil
Time:
2:30 p.m. ET
Location:
Wembley Stadium, England
England Absentees
:
Daniel Sturridge (thigh injury), Michael Carrick (hip injury) Jermain Defoe (ankle injury), and Rio Ferdinand (mystery!). Gareth Barrey and Scott Parker didn’t make the cut.
Brazil Absentees
: Pelé! He obviously doesn’t play for Brazil anymore but he won’t attend due to hip injury. David Luiz (calf strain), Kaká (didn’t make the cut) will not play.

Germany v. France
Germany has not prevailed over France since 1987.
Time:
3:00 p.m. ET
Location:
Stade de France, France
Germany Absentees
: Miroslav Klose (partial ligament tear), Marcel Schmelzer (ankle problem), Goetze (flu virus), Marco Reus (adductor muscle injury), and Bastian Schweinsteiger (ankle injury).
France Absentees: Real Madrid’s new showstopper Raphaël Varane (hamstring injury)

Portugal v. Ecuador
The last time Portugal and Ecuador met was in 1972, in the inauguration of the Brazil Independence Cup.
Time: 3:45 p.m. ET
Location: Estádio D. Alfonso Henriques, Portugal
Portugal Absentees: Birthday boy Cristiano Ronaldo has muscle soreness but has vowed to play. Hugo Almeida and Rúben Micael are out with knee injuries.
Ecuador Absentees: Erazo Frickson (adductor problem)

If you would like to see the full list of the friendlies, you can find it here.

On a different note, there are some clashes which will not be so friendly, because they are World Cup qualifiers of the CONCACAF. These are rather important matches for me, considering my heritage.

Honduras v. USA
Time: 4:00 p.m. ET
Location: Estadio Olímpico, Honduras
No Landon Donnovan!

Panama v. Costa Rica
Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
Location: Estadio Rommel Gutiérrez, Panama City

Mexico v. Jamaica
Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
Location: Estadio Azteca, Mexico City

I have also pulled out of the gym because I have a sore back. But nobody cares about my back while we have Cristiano Ronaldo’s muscles to worry about, right? It’s okay, I’ll let him have the attention this time.

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