There’s much more top level football to look forward to this weekend with international friendlies continuing over Saturday and Sunday. The stand out fixture among Saturday’s games is the huge clash between Germany and England, which reignites a long-standing rivalry that has been built up over a number of years.
Both teams will be among the favourites to emerge victorious at Euro 2016 in France, although Germany arugably have the greater pedigree and are the current World Champions after winning the World Cup in Brazil 2014. Both sides qualified for this summer’s tournament by topping their respective groups, although Germany had a much tougher time than England, having to battle their way through a group which included Poland, Republic of Ireland and Scotland. The Three Lions only serious group contender was Switzerland, but Roy Hodgson’s men made short work of that rival and progressed from the group with a perfect record of 10 victories from 10 matches.
In other matches on Saturday Poland stand out as a viable bet, having already given us a winning tip this week by beating Serbia 1-0 on Wednesday night. They face another home tie against arguably a lesser side in Finland on Saturday afternoon. Moving on to Sunday, Spain travel to Romania for their second away match this week after drawing 1-1 with Italy on Thursday evening. The Romanians also gave us a winner on Wednesday night with a 1-0 victory over Lithuania, although Spain will clearly represent a much bigger challenge.
Germany v England
First up it’s the big match of Saturday night, and there could be a bit of value in backing England or Draw at +130 with Bet365.
At first glance one would initially think that Germany at home should hold all the aces, but England have shown a resoluteness since the dreadful World Cup campaign of 2014, and with the 2-0 win against France in their last friendly in November have shown that they can compete with the top sides.
In qualifying England scored a perfect ten wins, but also conceded a measly three goals during that sequence, which should not be too much of a surprise with Roy Hodgson’s pragmatic approach to the game. Admittedly they were served up with one of the ‘softest’ qualification groups, but they did what was required and never looked in danger of missing out on this summer’s competition.
Germany were given a much tougher assignment, losing two and drawing one on the way to winning their group by a point from Poland. However, no prizes are awarded for qualifying and what matters is how both teams perform when the big tournament comes around, and while England have consistently under-achieved, the Germans appear to move up a gear when it really matters.
This match it must be remembered is just a friendly, and while the two teams do love to beat each other, players will be mindful of domestic campaigns with their respective clubs, and it would be a surprise to see a a fast-paced and frenetic game. It might much more easily turn into a slow, tactical affair and if that is the case we shouldn’t expect too many goals.
Germany, as stated, tend to do the business when it really matters. In home matches since the World Cup they have been beaten by Argentina and USA, and held to draws by Australia and Republic of Ireland. They’ve also lost two of their last three international games – a 1-0 defeat in Republic of Ireland, and a 2-0 friendly defeat against France.
England meanwhile, have seen the emergence of another young talent in Tottenham Hotspurs’ Dele Alli, who marked his debut against France with a superbly taken goal from distance. Their only defeat since the World Cup was a 2-0 friendly loss away in Spain, and they’ve won 13 of 15 other fixtures since returning from Brazil on the first plane home. At a generous price and bearing in mind that this game is just a friendly, England are worth backing to come away with their reputation intact as they build towards Euro 2016.
Poland v Finland
Poland kick off earlier on Saturday, and they are a confident selection to beat Finland at -200 with William Hill
The Poles are a very solid side and with Robert Lewandowski leading the line they have a truly world class forward at their disposal. They did us a favour by beating Serbia on Wednesday night to bring up their fourth consecutive win (all at home), and there is no reason to suspect they won’t make it five when Finland come to visit on Saturday afternoon.
Finland failed to make an impact in the qualification group that saw Northern Ireland and Romania progress to Euro 2016, managing just three victories against Greece and the Faroe Islands (twice). In the last ten games they’ve been defeated by the likes of Northern Ireland, Estonia, Hungary and Iceland, and with all due respect to those nations, Poland’s team is a cut above.
The Poles have won 8 of the last 11 home internationals and another victory here will keep them in good heart ahead of France 2016.
Romania v Spain
Finally on Sunday evening we’re backing under 2.5 goals in the match between Romania and Spain at -135 with 888Sport
Romania laboured to a 1-0 win over Lithuania in midweek, while the Spanish fought back to secure a 1-1 draw in Italy. Spain have never been prolific goal scorers in friendlies or competitive games, preferring to stroke the ball around in their distinctive style and wait for openings to appear, before using possession to eat up minutes on the clock.
Romania’s developing side is built on defensive solidity, and they’ve kept 7 clean sheets in the last ten games – winning five and drawing five. Seven of those ten games have had two goals or less, while eight of Spain’s last ten have gone under the 2.5 goal line.
England or Draw double chance
Saturday 26th March, 19:45 GMT
Poland to beat Finland
Saturday 26th March, 16:30 GMT
Romania v Spain Under 2.5 goals
Sunday 27th March, 19:45 GMT