International Friendlies Round-Up: 02/06/18 – 03/06/18

International Friendlies Round-Up: 02/06/18 – 03/06/18

Belgium v Portugal – 02/06/18

Belgium

Roberto Martinez’ Belgium World cup warmup friendlies begin with the visit of Portugal at the Stade Roi Bauddoin in Brussels. Martinez is the latest manager that has been given the task of getting this ‘golden generation’ of Belgian football to perform on the World’ stage and claim the countries first World Cup in Russia. Martinez has a plethora of Premier League talent at his disposal including Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku but the ex Everton boss still needs to whittle down his squad of 28 down to 23 by the 4th June so may use this game to give some players a final chance to prove they’re worthy of a spot on the plane to Russia this Summer. Belgium will expect to qualify from their group in Russia, England being the only major challenge but a win here would be a massive boost in confidence ahead of the tournament.

Portugal

European Champions Portugal welcome back star man Cristiano Ronaldo for this friendly against Belgium.Ronaldo returns for this one after the Real Madrid forward was given extra time off after their victory in the Champions League final and the four time Ballon D’or winner will once again be a vital part in any of Portugal’s success. If Ronaldo’s thrown straight into the lineup then he will likely partner Andre Silva upfront, who got the opening goal in Portugal’s 2-2 draw with Tunisia on Monday and will be looking to keep up his goalscoring form going into the tournament.  Portugal’s main concern ahead of the tournament is their reliance on an ageing defence in Russia. With a defensive partnership of Pepe and Bruno Alves who are 35 and 36 respectively.

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Lukaku to score (8/5 at Bet365) – BET HERE

BTTS and over 2.5 goals (7/4 at Coral) – BET HERE

Austria v Germany – 02/06/18

Austria

World Cup favourites Germany begin their preparation for the World Cup in Russia with their first warmup friendly with Austria on Saturday. Die Mannschaft are looking to retain the World Cup after victory in Brazil in 2014 but Germany will want to build some momentum coming into the World Cup this Summer. Germany have won just one of their last five matches so will be looking to get a win here get some confidence in the squad ahead of the tournament. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is likely to play his first competitive game since September after breaking his foot as he looks to prove his fitness and Dortmund Winger Marco Reus is set to make his first international appearance since March 2016 after a host of injuries which included keeping him out of Euro 2016 so he will be looking to make an impact ahead of the World Cup.

Germany

Austria failed to qualify for the World Cup after finishing 4th in their qualification group behind Serbia, Republic of Ireland and Wales in what was a massively disappointing qualifying campaign. However they have picked their form up massively as of late as Austria have won all of their last 6 matches so it won’t be an easy test for the Germans on Saturday. Their coach Franco Foda is expected to name an experienced lineup to take on his fellow countrymen on Saturday with Bayern Munich Defender David Alaba and West Ham’s Marco Arnautovic both expected to start and will be hoping to cause an upset on Saturday.

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Reus to score first (6/1 at Bet365) – BET HERE

Germany to win to nil (17/10 at BetVictor) – BET HERE

Spain v Switzerland – 03/06/18

Spain

Julen Lopetegui’s Spain host Switzerland this weekend in the first of their two international friendlies ahead of the World Cup this month. The home side are one of the strong favourites to go the distance in Russia, priced at odds of 6/1 with most bookmakers so will be looking to finish their preparations strongly with two wins over Switzerland and Tunisia.

Spain head into this clash in fantastic form. After acing their qualifying group ahead of Italy, winning 9 and drawing 1 of their 10 matches, they went onto thrash Costa Rica 5-0 in their first international friendly back in November courtesy of goals from Jordi Alba, Alvaro Morata, David Silva (2) & Andreas Iniesta. A 3-3 draw with Russia proceeded that emphatic win over Costa Rica, before March saw the Spaniards assert their dominance ahead of this summers tournament, thrashing Argentina 6-1 just days after being held by Germany 1-1.

Nobody would have expected Lopetegui’s side to humiliate the South American’s in the manner in which they did at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, however and extremely impressive display which saw star man Isco bag a hat-trick alongside solo efforts from Diego Costa, Iago Aspas and Thiago meant they carry some fantastic momentum over to Russia. 26-year-old playmaker Isco will be the danger man in this clash, the Real Madrid man is full of confidence after winning the Champions League just last week so will be keen to continue with his positive form for Spain. Isco to score anytime in this clash is priced at 9/2 with SkyBet, and we think that could be a solid bet for this one.

Switzerland

Switzerland made it through to the World Cup after beating Northern Ireland 1-0 in the play-offs back in November. Vladimir Petković’s men finished second in their qualifying group behind Portugal on goal difference alone, which meant they then had to defeat the Irishmen over a two-legged play-off match to secure their place in Russia. A single goal from Ricardo Rodriguez was enough to secure their place at this June’s tournament, but after being placed in an incredibly strong group alongside Brazil, Croatia and Serbia, their hopes of qualifying to the knock out stages look pretty slim.

It’s not just Spain who have shown the world just what a capable outfit they are in recent friendlies. Switzerland’s last friendly match against Panama ended in a 6-0 victory, however the quality of the opposition is obviously much different to Spains opponents. With that said, it’s clear that the Swiss have goals in them, with Stoke winger Xherdan Shaqiri their key threat in midfield. The Stoke man was the shining light in an otherwise very dim campaign for the Potters as they were relegated from the Premier League, but always steps up for his country.

One massive blow for the visitors here is the fact Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has picked up a knee injury in training and will definitely miss the forthcoming friendlies against Spain and Japan. Scans have shown that the injury isn’t as bad as first feared however and that he should be fit for his country’s curtain raiser against Brazil on June 17th, but he’ll definitely be a miss in these friendlies prior to the competition starting in just under two weeks time.

Recommended Bets:

Isco to score first (9/2 with SkyBet) – BET HERE

Spain -1 handicap (19/20 with Betway) – BET HERE