Four matches to watch this weekend

AFCON: Super Eagles training alongside its head coach, Gernot Rohr. [PHOTO CREDIT: Official Twitter handle of the Super Eagles.]
AFCON: Super Eagles training alongside its head coach, Gernot Rohr. [PHOTO CREDIT: Official Twitter handle of the Super Eagles.]

It is an international FIFA weekend, which means matches from Friday to Tuesday are on the agenda.

Ukraine v Nigeria @Dnipro Arena @7:30 p.m. on Sep.10

With temperatures below 20OC and continuously dropping, the Super Eagles are in for a test at the Dnipro Arena on Tuesday night.

Ukraine is ranked 25th on the latest FIFA ranking and they have the legendary Andriy Shevchenko as the manager.

The 33rd-ranked Super Eagles under Gernot Rohr is using the opportunity to evaluate new players to replace the retired Mikel Obi and Odion Ighalo.

The Eagles must watch for their inverted wingers – Yevhen Konoplyanka and Andriy Yarmolenko while Junior Moraes and Viktor Tsygankov will be constant menaces upfront.

Rohr is expected to give first caps to at least three of the newly invited players.

Current Form: Liverpool [W-W-W-D-D]; Arsenal [W-L-W-W-L]

Head to head

No meetings at senior level

Prediction: Ukraine 3-1 Nigeria

Germany v Netherlands @Volksparkstadion @7:45 p.m on Sep.6

This is a match that can be described as a classic because none of these countries wants to lose.

This 44th meeting has so much riding on the result.

For context, read former Germany striker, Karl-Heinz Forster before a clash with the Dutch in 1980.

“To them, beating us is the best thing there is. They hate us so much more than we hate them.”

The Dutch team is marooned in third place in Group C of the Euro 2020 qualification with three points from two matches with Northern Ireland leading the way with 12 points from four matches.

This is followed by Germany, who boast three wins from three – beating the Dutch at the Johan Cruyff Arena last March, 3-2, with the winner scored by Nico Schulz in the 90th minute.

Lose at the Volksparkstadion on Friday and it could be curtains for the Ronald Koeman-led side and a step back from their final appearance in the Nations League.

Current Form: Germany [W-W-W-D-D]; Netherlands [L-W-L-W-D]

Head to head

Sun 24/03/19 ECQ Netherlands 2 – 3 Germany

Mon 19/11/18 UNL Germany 2 – 2 Netherlands

Sat 13/10/18 UNL Netherlands 3 – 0 Germany

Wed 14/11/12 FRI Netherlands 0 – 0 Germany

Wed 13/06/12 EUC Netherlands 1 – 2 Germany

Prediction: Germany 3-1 Netherlands

Serbia v Portugal @Stadion Rajko Mitic @7:45 p.m. on Sep.7

A bloodied Cristiano Ronaldo was not available for the entire first leg back in March as he limped off the pitch with the Serbs leading 1-0 but Danilo’s wonder strike salvaged a 1-1 home result.

The Nations League champions should have been awarded a penalty in the second half but their appeals fell on deaf ears.

Portugal need all three points in their third match to get back in contention for the top two places in Group B of Euro 2020 qualifiers.

The Serbs also need all three points to get close to Ukraine, who top the table with 10 points from four matches.

It has historically been a tight affair between the two countries, and this one should go the same way.

Current Form: Serbia [W-L-D-D-W]; Portugal [W-W-D-D-D]

Head to head

Mon 25/03/19 ECQ Portugal 1 – 1 Serbia

Sun 11/10/15 ECQ Serbia 1 – 2 Portugal

Sun 29/03/15 ECQ Portugal 2 – 1 Serbia

Wed 12/09/07 ECQ Portugal 1 – 1 Serbia

Wed 28/03/07 ECQ Serbia 1 – 1 Portugal

Prediction: Serbia 2-3 Portugal

Brazil v Colombia @Hard Rock Stadium, Miami @1:30 a.m. on Sep.7

The Selecao world tour continues in Miami, the USA with the maverick forward. We expect the returning Neymar to play a significant part.

Tite wants the Copa America winning momentum to continue so will name a strong team and with the PSG star, who missed the Copa triumph.

We may also say the Brazilian team has been strengthened with Real Madrid’s 19-year-old Vinicius Jr., who is also expected to play a part.

The Colombians will not be pushovers though new manager, Carlos Queiroz are building a new side that will be led by David Ospina and Juan Cuadrado with rampaging Atalanta forward, Duvan Zapata getting the chance to bully some Brazilian defenders.

Current Form: Brazil [W-W-W-W-D]; Colombia [L-W-W-W-W]

Head to head

Tue 05/09/17 WQS Colombia 1 – 1 Brazil

Thu 26/01/17 FRI Brazil 1 – 0 Colombia

Wed 07/09/16 WQS Brazil 2 – 1 Colombia

Thu 18/06/15 COA Brazil 0 – 1 Colombia

Sat 06/09/14 FRI Brazil 1 – 0 Colombia

Prediction: Brazil 3-1 Colombia

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