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Internationals Preview: Weekend Action

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suarezuruguay

It's few and far between for the matches that actually matter this weekend, with really only one from a Liverpool perspective, as none of the current squad members are involved in the playoffs for the final Euro qualifying spots. Those of you with a strong affiliation for any of the nations facing off---Bosnia-Herzegovina v. Portugal, Turkey v. Croatia, Czech Republic v. Montenegro, and Estonia v. Ireland---will want to tune in starting at 7:00PM GMT/2:00PM EST. The rest of us have the next couple days to slog through some hopefully uneventful matches and enough poppy references to make you engage in some serious paper-cutting.


Friday CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifier:

Uruguay v. Chile 10:00PM GMT/5:00PM EST

The Copa America champions currently sit atop the CONMEBOL table, one point ahead of Argentina. Uruguay hit Bolivia for four in their opener before earning a point away to Paraguay in their second match. Luis Suarez and company are back at home for their next two matches, and will have a good shot at getting all six points. After an impressive showing last summer in South Africa, Chile got off to a rocky start away to Argentina in the opening round, but rebounded via a 4-2 win over visiting Peru. Suarez will obviously play a huge role for the hosts tomorrow, with Sebastian Coates likely continuing on the bench.

Friday Friendlies:

Denmark v. Sweden 6:00PM GMT/1:00PM EST

Discussions about Danish friendlies are best handled with vague references to players involved and complete disregard for the idea of fitness. Liverpool have a player involved, he'll likely play, and after it's finished we will be able to evaluate how things went for him. Avoid at all costs.

Netherlands v. Switzerland 7:30PM GMT/2:30PM EST

I'm worried about Dirk Kuyt every time he heads out on international duty---not that he'd come back injured, because that's just not possible. But he's such a vital part of the Dutch setup that I can't help wondering how his current spot on the bench at Liverpool juxtaposes what's a clearly integral role in his national side. There's likely nothing to it other than me being neurotic, and I guess for now we just act grateful that he's getting time and staying fresh and whatever.

Cyprus v. Scotland 6:00PM GMT/1:00PM EST

A chance at Euro qualification technically came down to the last day for Scotland, but they'd have needed to beat Spain in Alicante, a task that proved to be too difficult. Charlie Adam stays in the squad, while Danny Wilson's left out. Bit surprising about Wilson, who seemed to be on the positive side of the fringe throughout qualifying. He's found regular football hard to come by, though, and I'd guess lack of first-team action hasn't really helped his case.

Saturday Friendlies:

Wales v. Norway 3:00PM GMT/10:00AM EST

Gary Speed's Welsh squad finished up Euro qualifying with a strong run of results, winning three of their last four and saving some face after starting their campaign with four straight losses. Craig Bellamy's international career might not extend through World Cup qualifying, but he's in the squad tomorrow and could get the start after playing an important role in their successes late in qualifying.

England v. Spain 5:15PM GMT/12:15PM EST

If you're not already, odds are by kickoff you're going to be too tired of this one to actually watch. Glamour friendly and John Terry and poppies and blah blah blah England lose by three. Stewart Downing and Glen Johnson make the England squad with Pepe Reina hoping to see some sort of action for the Spanish for the first time in awhile. But maybe this is England's time, and this starts a magical run to Euro glory next summer. Or not that.

Things get going soon enough, and if you're really diving into things for the day you can catch AFC World Cup qualifying from 9:00AM GMT/4:00AM EST. The usual streaming sites---MyP2P.bz, StopStream.tv, ATDHEnet.tv, FromSport.com, FirstRowSports.eu, KiwiSportz.com---should have you covered, along with ESPN3.com for those with service and Fox Soccer Channel, ESPN, and Sky Sports likely carrying coverage on either side of the ocean.

In the meantime, the creepiest video I could find on YouTube using "poppy" as the search term. You're welcome?