There is a full slate of meaningless international friendlies today, with the European and South American powers in action in some attractive matchups (Guardian blogger Paolo Bandini, in a bit of hyperbole: “Is this the best night of friendlies ever?“). Moreover, most of those matches available for viewing here in the US (at least on ESPN3).
We may peek in on France-Brazil, Argentina-Portugal, or even Denmark-England. Especially since the storyline for that latter one, at least from the English point of view, seems to be young Jack Wilshere’s first start. Fabio Capello did nothing to manage expectations of a nation looking for yet another savior by mentioning “Baresi, Maldini, Raúl” when asked about Wilshere.
Such expectations which have been building his performances in the early stages of the Premier and Champions Leagues last fall. For example, here is another Guardian columnist back in October, writing that he’s “nervous about Jack Wilshere, teenage midfield scamp and current bearer of the title of most promising young footballer in England. Watching Wilshere set up Arsenal’s first goal against Partizan Belgrade [in September] with a brilliant backheel, two thoughts sprang to mind. First: Wilshere is really good. And second: how are we going to ruin him?”
(We’ve indulged this tangent about Wilshere since its further fuel for our ongoing internal debate about his role in the Arsenal lineup; see here.)
Here’s a list of some of the matches of interest:
|2:15pm||Denmark vs England||ESPN3.com|
|2:30pm||Netherlands vs Austria||ESPN3.com|
|2:45pm||France vs Brazil||ESPN2, ESPN3.com USA, ESPND|
|2:45pm||Germany vs Italy||ESPN3.com|
|3:00pm||Argentina vs Portugal||FIFA.com, GolTV,|
|3:30pm||Spain vs Colombia||ESPN3.com|
A France-Brazil matchup is a good reason to look back at the famous Final Coupe du Monde 1998, which took place on the 12 Juin 1998 in the Stade de France (Paris):
Update: For reference, here are the squad lists for a few of the matches, which are now in progress.
France: Lloris; Sagna, Rami, Mexes, Abidal – A Diarra, M’vila – Menez, Gourcuff, Malouda – Benzema.
Subs: Mandanda, Carrasso, Réveillère, Koscielny, Sakho, Clichy, Cabaye, Matuidi, Diaby, Gameiro, Hoarau, Rémy
Brazil: Julio Cesar; Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Andre Santos; Elias, Lucas, Hernanes; Renato Augusto, Pato, Robinho
Subs: Gomes, Neto, Breno, Luisao, Marcelo, Rafael, Anderson, Sandro, Jadson, André, Hulk
Denmark: Sorensen, Christian Poulsen, Jorgensen, Agger, Simon Poulsen, Jacobsen, Kvist, Eriksen, Krohn-Delhi, Rommedahl, Bendtner.
Subs: Lindegaard, Wass, Kjaer, Silberbauer, Schone, Vingaard, Junker, Lorentzen, Enevoldsen, Pedersen.
England:Hart, Johnson, Dawson, Terry, Ashley Cole, Lampard, Wilshere, Walcott, Rooney, Milner, Bent.
Subs: Green, Walker, Cahill, Lescott, Baines, Downing, Parker, Barry, Young, Defoe,
Carlton Cole, Stockdale.