Int. Friendlies Preview: Selected Matches (23-24 Mar)

Selected Matches (23-24 March 2018)

With the international break taking centre stage, our in-house scribe previews selected friendlies taking place on Friday the 23rd of March and Saturday the 24th of March 2018.

Club football goes on hold as the international break returns. There are some cracking friendly matches to look forward to this week and lots of money to be made.

Friday 23 March

Russia 9/2
Draw 28/10
Brazil 6/10 

Brazil will face World Cup hosts Russia in Moscow on Friday night. Russia have been quite impressive in their last four friendlies, although they just won once. A 4-2 victory over Korea Republic followed with a 1-1 draw with Iran and it took an 86th minute goal from Sergio Aguero to deny Stanislav Cherchesov's side a draw against Argentina. Russia showed great fighting spirit in their last friendly, coming from behind twice to earn a 3-3 draw against Spain.

Brazil played to a goalless draw against England at Wembley Stadium in their last friendly but prior to that, the Samba Boys beat Japan 3-1. Neymar is still recovering from injury, but Tite has plenty of quality in his squad. Back the Brazilians to oust their opponents.

Greece 29/10
Draw 2/1 
Switzerland 21/20
Greece take on Switzerland at St. Jakob-Park on Friday night. Greece finished second in their World Cup qualifying group, but failed to book a place in Russia 2018 as they were beaten 4-1 on aggregate by Croatia in the play-off. The Greeks won five of their 10 qualifiers with four draws, losing just once against group winners Belgium.

Switzerland will make their fourth straight World Cup appearance after defeating Northern Ireland 1-0 on aggregate in the play-off. Vladimir Petkovic’s side won nine of their 10 qualifiers, but finished behind Portugal due to goal difference. These sides last met in a friendly back in 2013 where they played to a goalless draw. A tight affair is expected with the draw tipped at 2/1.

Argentina 19/20 
Draw 9/4 
Italy 3/1 
Argentina will play Italy in a friendly on Friday night at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium. La Albiceleste last played in November when they were beaten 4-2 by Nigeria in Krasnodar. Prior to that, Jorge Sampaoli’s men were unbeaten in seven matches, winning four times – including a 1-0 win over South Americans rivals Brazil.

Italy failed to book their place in Russia 2018 after losing to Sweden in the play-off. Interim coach Luigi Di Biagio will be hoping for a positive response from his players. Argentina have won their last two meetings against Italy and I’m backing them to come out on top.



Germany 14/10 
Draw 9/4 
Spain 19/10
We’re in for a treat on Friday night as Germany host Spain in a mouth-watering friendly at the Esprit Arena. Joachim Low’s side were excellent in their World Cup qualifiers, winning all of their 10 games, scoring 47 goals while conceding only four. The Germans played two friendlies after qualifying for Russia 2018, drawing both games against England and France.

Julen Lopetegui’s side were also brilliant in their World Cup qualifiers, winning nine of their 10 games, scoring 36 goals while conceding just three. After booking their ticket to Russia 2018, La Furia Roja played two friendlies, beating Costa Rica 5-0, before playing to a 3-3 draw with Russia. With both teams packed with attacking talent, I’m backing Both Teams to Score at 15/20.

Netherlands 15/10 
Draw 43/20 
England 37/20
England take on the Netherlands at the Johan Cruijff Arena on Friday. This will be Ronald Koeman’s first game in charge since replacing Dick Advocaat who resigned after failing to guide the Oranje to the 2018 World Cup. The Netherlands have won their last five matches, including friendly wins over Scotland and Romania. After winning their qualifying group, England played friendlies against heavyweights Germany and Brazil, drawing both games 0-0.

Gareth Southgate has surprised many with his 27-man squad by including Burnley’s James Tarkowski and Nick Pope, Swansea defender Alfie Mawson and Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook. Injured Tottenham striker Harry Kane and Chelsea defender Gary Cahill are among those who miss out. The Three Lions have won just once in their last six friendly games on their travels, losing three times. I’m backing the Dutch to win at 15/10.

Portugal 5/10
Draw 29/10
Egypt 57/10 
European champions Portugal will battle it out with five-time African champions Egypt in Zurich. Fernando Santos’ men have won six of their last seven games, scoring 16 goals while conceding just three. The Portuguese were the third best team in last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup after beating Mexico 2-1.

Egypt qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1990 after they beat Congo 2-1 thanks to a Mohamed Salah brace. After securing their spot at Russia 2018, the Pharaohs earned a 1-1 draw away to Ghana in their last qualifier. Both Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo are in red-hot form for their respective clubs. They both scored four goals each in thumping wins for their clubs last weekend. Back Both Teams to Score at 23/20.

Poland 9/10
Draw 47/20 
Nigeria 31/10 
Three-time African champions Nigeria will take on Poland at the Stadion Miejski on Friday night. Both teams won their qualifying groups to secure a spot in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The White and Reds have played two friendlies – both on home soil – after their qualifiers. After playing to a goalless draw with Uruguay, Adam Nawalka’s side were beaten 1-0 by Mexico.

Nigeria recorded a stunning 4-2 friendly win over South American giants Argentina in November. The Super Eagles have an abundance of talent at their disposal and I’m backing them on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 15/20.

Austria 15/20 
Draw 49/20 
Slovenia 37/10 
Austria will host Slovenia at the Worthersee Stadium on Friday night. Both teams failed to book a spot in Russia 2018 after finishing fourth in their respective qualifying groups. Austria have been in good form, having gone unbeaten in their last four matches with three straight wins, including a 2-1 friendly win over Uruguay in November.

Slovenia are winless in their last five matches on the road. In that run, they suffered three straight defeats and only managed to score once. Austria are tipped to win.

France 5/10 
Draw 31/10 
Colombia 52/10 
France welcome Colombia to the Stade de France on Friday night. Didier Deschamps’ men are amongst the favourites to win the World Cup and they will want to make a statement in front of their home fans. Les Bleus are unbeaten in their last seven matches in all competitions, winning five times.

Colombia have only won two of their last eight games and they should struggle to cope with Deschamps’ star-studded side. With the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba, Le Bleus should prove too strong.

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Saturday 24 March

Peru 15/4 
Draw 22/10 
Croatia 17/20 
Peru will face Croatia on Saturday at the Hard Rock Stadium in Florida. Ricardo Gareca’s side qualified for Russia 2018 by beating New Zealand 2-0 on aggregate in their inter-confederation play-off. The result extended Peru’s unbeaten run to 10 games, their longest such streak in 75 years.

Croatia will play for the first time since they recorded a 4-1 aggregate victory over Greece in the play-off to secure a spot in the World Cup. The Blazers are unbeaten in their last four matches, winning twice. I’m expecting a tightly-contested affair with the draw tipped at 22/10.

Sweden 2/1 
Draw 21/10 
Chile 29/20 
Sweden welcome Chile to the Friends Arena on Saturday. Sweden are the reason we won’t be seeing Italy at the 2018 World Cup as the Swedes beat the Azzurri 1-0 on aggregate in the play-off. Janne Anderson's side played two friendlies since securing qualification, drawing 1-1 against Estonia before beating Denmark 1-0.

Chile missed out on a spot at Russia 2018 after a poor end to their qualifying campaign in South America. La Roja have lost four of their last five matches, failing to score a goal in all of those defeats, with Alexis Sanchez struggling for form. Sweden are tipped on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 5/10.

TREBLE TIPPED @ 44/10
Brazil Win 6/10
Portugal vs Egypt BTTS 5/4
France Win 5/10



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