International friendlies used to be kind of a big deal, or at least a meaningful one. So as well as following tonight’s games, let’s bathe in some of our favourite matches and moments from the golden age of the international friendly. The first that comes to mind is England’s dramatic 3-2 win over Argentina in 2005, a significant landmark on their route to World Cup glory in Germany the following year.
A personal favourite is England 4-2 Czechoslovakia in April 1990, when Paul Gascoigne played with such spectacular brilliance that he went from optional Italia 90 wildcard to guaranteed starter in the space of 90 minutes. As one of only 21,342 people at Wembley that night, it’s nice to be able to say I was there (and you weren’t, ya filthy JCL).
“Hi Rob,” says Peter Oh. “If Germany earns a penalty, the taker should absolutely try to put a Panenka past Pavlenka. Tah!”
France v Finland team news
France (4-4-2) Mandanda; Dubois, Zouma, Lenglet, Digne; Sissoko, Nzonzi, Pogba, Thuram; Ben Yedder, Giroud.
Finland (4-4-2) Joronen; Hamalainen, O’Shaughnessy, Ojala, Vaisanen; Forss, Kauko, Karjalainen, Schuller; Niskanen, Valakari.
Belgium v Switzerland team news
Belgium (3-4-3) Mignolet; Bornauw, Mechele, Vertonghen; Chadli, Praet, Dendoncker, T Hazard; Vanaken, Batshuayi, Lukebakio.
Switzerland (3-4-3) Mvogo; Fernandes, Comert, Schar; Zuber, Xhaka, Sow, Benito; Gavranovic, Embolo, Mehmedi.
Germany v Czech Republic team news
Germany (3-4-2-1) Trapp; Tah, Koch, Rudiger; Baku, Neuhaus, Gundogan, Max; Brandt, J Hofmann; Waldschmidt.
Czech Republic (4-2-3-1) Pavlenka; Mateju, Brabec, Jemelka, Novak; Holes, Barak; Kopic, Dockal, Cerny; Krmencik.
Netherlands v Spain team news
Jurgen Klopp will be thrilled to see that Gini Wijnaldum starts in midfield alongside Donny van de Beek and Frenkie de Jong. Pep Guardiola will be similarly chuffed to see Rodri and Eric Garcia start for Spain.
Netherlands (4-3-3) Bizot; Hateboer, Veltman, Ake, Wijndal; Wijnaldum, van de Beek, F de Jong; Berghuis, L de Jong, Depay.
Spain (4-4-2) Unai Simon; Bellerin, E Garcia, Inigo Martinez, Gaya; Asensio, Rodri, Koke, Canales; Morata, Gerard Moreno.
Italy v Estonia team news
Italy (4-3-3) Sirigu; Di Lorenzo, D’Ambrosio, Bastoni, Emerson; Soriano, Tonali, Gagliardini; Bernardeschi, Lasagna, Grifo.
Estonia (4-2-3-1) Meerits; Teniste, Baranov, Mets, Pikk; Ainsalu, Soomets; Liivak, Miller, Marin; Sappinen.
Portugal v Andorra team news
Portugal (4-3-3) Lopes; Nelson Semedo, Ruben Semedo, Domingos Duarte, Mario Rui; Renato Sanches, Joao Moutinho, Sergio Oliveira; Francisco Trincao, Paulinho, Pedro Neto.
Andorra (5-3-2) Gomes; Jordi Rubio, Rodrigues, Emili Garcia, Rebes, Marc Garcia; C Martinez, Pujol, Cervos; Vieira, Sanchez.
at 1.41pm EST
Evening. We’re all friends here, so let us speak frankly: you shouldn’t be here. Trust me, there are better things you can do tonight. Read your old tax returns for the nostalgia, watch Dr Pimple Popper on the Really channel, organise your underwear in autobiographical order: all would be more spiritually enriching than following a load of international friendlies that were apparently arranged with only two things in mind.
2. To give us an excuse to do another midweek Clockwatch.
A full list of all tonight’s fixtures can be found here. We’ll be focussing on the most high-profile games, risible snobs that we are, including repeats of the Euro 96 and 2010 World Cup finals (all 7.45pm GMT unless stated):
- Germany v Czech Republic
- Belgium v Switzerland
- Netherlands v Spain
- Italy v Estonia
- Portugal v Andorra
- France v Finland (8.10pm)
We’ll have team news shortly. The first rule is that if you see the teams, you have to go the distance. Get out while you still can.
at 2.02pm EST