CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers, AFCON qualifiers and Nation’s League matchups ahead during international break
The final round of international fixtures for 2020 is upon us and this calendar year promises to go out in style with big clashes in South America, Africa and Europe, as well as one final US Men’s National Team game, all on the menu.
Peru, Colombia and Chile all have important fixtures coming up as they aim to fall on the right side of the 2022 World Cup divide in South America and Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Germany are yet to book their places in the latter stages of UEFA’s Nations League.
The USMNT also faces off against Panama in Austria after a hard-fought goalless draw with Wales last week.
Once all of the internationals are done, it is back to domestic and continental club duty for many with the Champions League and the Europa League back from next week.
Here is what we are looking forward to seeing.
The week gets underway with a smattering of action as the USMNT and Panama come together in Wiener Neustadt looking to end 2020 on a high while there is also Africa Cup of Nations qualifying action with Algeria, Cameroon and South Africa all involved.
The main festivities are saved for Tuesday and Wednesday, particularly where Europe and South America are concerned, with African qualifying reasonably plain sailing for the more reputable nations.
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Moving on to Tuesday and things get rolling in Africa throughout the afternoon with an all-star selection of Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, Mali and Tunisia all in action away from home turf.
All eyes will eventually turn to Europe where Spain and Germany headline the Nations League proceedings in a straight shootout for top spot in League A Group 4 and a spot in the latter stages alongside France after they qualified at Portugal’s expense over the weekend.
If that was not enough, Japan and Mexico meet in a friendly in Graz, Austria, before South America takes center stage with Chile away at Venezuela and Ecuador hosting Chile in two games where three points would make a big difference for everybody — especially Venezuela.
It all comes to a head in the Nations League with Bosnia-Herzegovina at home to Italy, the Netherlands in Poland and Belgium hosting Denmark all potentially decisive.
League A Group 1 can be decided if the Italians simply win, which is also the case with Belgium in Group 2 — only a win will do for the Dutch, the Poles and the Danes.
England are also in action against Iceland but stand no chance of building on last year’s third-placed finish and the Republic of Ireland host Bulgaria in League B as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc.
Romania’s clash with Norway was cancelled due to the Scandinavian nation’s reaction to the crisis so UEFA has a decision to make on that front while the Norwegians assemble a foreign-based squad to fulfil the fixture against Austria.
All of that builds up to a spectacular end to the international break with Uruguay against Brazil and Peru versus Argentina the particular highlights in South America’s final qualifiers in 2020.
The Peruvians badly need a result against Argentina after an extremely slow start while Uruguay have made light of a defeat with two wins to hover above the cut-off point.