With all the matches that matter happening late last week or over the weekend, we get a slew of meaningless friendlies to round out international action in 2014. That it's the last international action of 2014 is reason for celebration. The rest, not so much…
Slovakia v. Finland
4PM BST/11AM EST
Greece v. Serbia
5PM BST/12PM EST
Austria v. Brazil
6PM BST/1PM EST
Scotland v. England
8PM BST/3PM EST
Nothing much may matter, but if you're looking to see how Liverpool's players are doing you've got plenty of options. The big braw will almost certainly be the nightcap of Scotland vs. England, but before then there are plenty of meaningless undercards to the meaningless big event which will be treated as though it's somehow not meaningless by many because it's Scotland vs. England.
Things kick off with Slovakia hosting Finland, with Martin Skrtel expected to start and captain his country as per usual. In the matches that matter, Slovakia are perfect so far, including wins over Spain and Ukraine, and they will expect a win today—meaningless or not—against the Finns, who are currently floundering in Group F behind Romania, Northern Ireland, and Hungary.
An hour after Slovakia kick off, Lazar Markovic and Serbia travel to Greece. The Liverpool angle may be Markovic, but the big story here are Grece. If Finland are struggling in Group F, the Greeks are imploding. They have only a single point to show through four qualifiers and on Friday they lost to the Faroe Islands, raising the hopes of every neutral football fan who hates getting stuck watching their terrible brand of football in major tournaments every few years.
Next up is Brazil, who take on Austria in Austria of all places—a minor surprise given their typically globetrotting friendlies. If the past events are to be predictor of future etceteras, Philippe Coutinho will get 20-30 minutes in the second half, though one of these days Dunga is bound to switch things up and start a few of his rotational players.
Two hours later, the day's action ends with the kind of sort of well I guess within the framework of meaningless international friendlies it's a big one. Certainly for those keeping an eye on Liverpool's players it's the biggest match of the day, with at least three likely to be involved. Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson, and Adam Lallana all started on Saturday when England beat Slovenia to stay perfect in Group E, and all will likely play at some point this evening.
Roy Hodgson, though, has shown a tendency to tinker with his lineups in friendlies, so not all may start, and of those that do, none will likely finish the match. That will also give hope to Rickie Lambert, who despite his lack of minutes with Liverpool continues to be called into the England set up to provide emergency depth.