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Wednesday Internationals Matchday-Like Substance and Open Thread

A few marquee international friendlies today with a Liverpool angle, though I'm not sure if the terms "friendly" and "marquee" should ever go together in football, no matter how good the matchups look on paper. But it's football, so you know you'll watch it if you can.

17:00 GMT/12:00PM EST - Brazil v. Argentina

Lucas starts as anchor of the Brazilian midfield while everybody's favourite ex-Liverpool player who's stuck behind Sergio Busquets and sitting on the bench in Barcelona will captain the Argies when the South American rivals square off against each other in Qatar. Because nothing says grand old South American footie rivalry like a rich gulf micro-state willing to splash the cash in an attempt to boost their bid to host the World Cup. Still, on paper Brazil v. Argentina is always one to watch, no matter the location or situation.

20:00 GMT/3:00PM EST - England v. France

Two of the biggest names in the sport, only France is still a complete disaster area and England is still England. That being said, "England is still England" tends to mean they look rather good when the games don't matter, while getting them to look decent when it means something probably isn't going to change until they overhaul their system from youth coaching on up to embrace football as it's played in the 21st century. Or until Liverpool returns to the Liverpool Way, dominates in the league and Europe, and churns out a generation of homegrown talent to dominate the English national side a la Barcelona's current stranglehold on the Spanish national team. But that's enough rambling: Johnson won't play, Gerrard should start, and the England Offside has a full preview.

21:00 GMT/4:00PM EST - Portugal v. Spain

Speaking of Spain, another "We're in it for the money" prestige friendly that at least based on the names involved should be a good show. Torres is unlikely to start (and one can only hope that he doesn't play at all, what with the mild injury and Hodgson showing he's incapable of managing his minutes at club level), and Reina is unlikely to do more than help celebrate goals from the bench, but oh the pretty shiny football... Right, where was I? Meireles will start for Portugal, and there's a good chance he'll even have a central role. Imagine that. The Spain Offside has the full rundown.

Elsewhere, Netherlands v. Turkey at 19:30 GMT/2:30PM EST was a lot more interesting from a Liverpol perspective when Kuyt was playing, and with Agger injured I'm not even going to bother checking on whether Poulsen's playing for Denmark in their match against the Czech Republic. If he does something embarrassing I'm sure it will make the Youtubes.

Well, there you go then. They may be meaningless, but are Liverpool games really likely to be all that much more meaningful under Roy Hodgson? I kid, I kid... sort of. Anyhow, for those watching the matches, consider this a matchday-like open thread to whine, bitch, and otherwise ooh and aah in.

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