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Fantastic week of international football!


papaguy51

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I can hardly for this week of international games, and I'm one of those who generally can't be arsed with the country v country variation of the beautiful game;

Russia, Germany, Portugal and Argentina are all in danger of missing out, so here's what I've thrown together from the net to preview the upcoming week.

The Lowdown

Expect tension and intrigue in the penultimate round of European Zone qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, with three top-of-the-table showdowns in store along with another three potentially decisive encounters.

No fewer than 13 teams will represent the Old Continent in South Africa next summer, but so far only the Netherlands, Spain and England have sealed their places. Defending champions Italy need a solitary point to join them, while Denmark, Switzerland, Serbia and Slovakia are also well placed.

The qualifying picture is less clear in Group 4, however, where supporters of Germany and Russia may have to wait until the final whistle of their last outings on Wednesday to know who will advance, should Guus Hiddink's side overcome Joachim Low's tomorrow.

The last four teams to book their tickets will emerge on 18 November, following the play-offs between the eight best second-placed sides. The draw for those contests will take place at FIFA headquarters in Zurich on 19 October.

On the other side of the world, the penultimate round of fixtures in the South American qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa takes place this weekend, when six teams continue the race for the two automatic qualification berths and one play-off spot that remain. Brazil and Paraguay have already booked their places at next year's showpiece event, while Chile and Ecuador could seal their own spots this weekend. The duo will be taking nothing for granted, however, as Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela and Colombia are hot on their heels in what has turned out to be the tightest preliminary competition since the current format began in 1995.

The Big Matches

Russia v Germany, Group 4, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, 19.00

In-form Arsenal playmaker Andrei Arshavin and the ever-dangerous Roman Pavlyuchenko are readying themselves to provide the attacking menace for an ambitious Russia team that is "alive again", according to coach Hiddink, who is no stranger to prevailing in must-win games. Opponents Germany boast a one-point advantage in the section, however, and Low, who has again chosen to overlook midfielder Torsten Frings, will field Rene Adler between the posts and will likely employ a counter-attacking approach. A draw would almost certainly see the Germans progress as group winners since they host Finland in their final fixture, but a triumph for the hosts would leave Russia two points clear ahead of their trip to bottom side Azerbaijan.

Ecuador v Uruguay

Saturday's fixtures involve four teams whose qualification hopes are very much alive. Fourth-placed Ecuador can seal their passage on the night provided they overcome Uruguay, Argentina lose to Peru, and Venezuela and Colombia fail to win their respective meetings with Paraguay and Chile. The visitors, meanwhile, require at least a point to keep their qualification dreams alive ahead of the final matchday. Realistically, though, both teams need a victory on a night when emotions will be running high.

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No USA @ Honduras? :pipe:

The CONMEBOL matches should be really good, and even if Argentina get the 5th place spot, it's not that much of a big deal because they would most likely face Costa Rica, who they should overcome (no guarantees with Maradona though). Uruguay are no slouches, so I'd expect a really good match against Ecuador.

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No USA @ Honduras? :pipe:

The CONMEBOL matches should be really good, and even if Argentina get the 5th place spot, it's not that much of a big deal because they would most likely face Costa Rica, who they should overcome (no guarantees with Maradona though). Uruguay are no slouches, so I'd expect a really good match against Ecuador.

I was leaving that to your expertise :pipe:

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Guest SandyWaTp
It would be a crying shame if players like Messi and Ronaldo missed out on the World Cup.

C'mon Portugal and Argentina (tu)

Agree 100%. The World Cup is meant to showcase the finest players on the planet. Without Ronaldo and Messi especially, it wouldn't be the same.

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