Amidst the international break, national teams are taking to the stage for Euro 2024 qualifiers to be played in Germany, but also friendlies. Some matches, between now and September 12, are high stakes, even decisive.
Slovakia-Portugal (Friday, September 8, 8:45pm)
For Cristiano Ronaldo’s 201st pick, Portugal must dispose of Slovakia on Friday to comfortably top Group J. And in the standings, it became fairly close after four contested days. Portugal leads the group with four wins from four matches (12 points) and Slovakia comes in second place with 10 points. Even if the top two teams qualify, Luxembourg is not far behind with seven points.
So the correct arithmetic for the Portuguese would be to beat Slovakia, before playing against Luxembourg on September 11th. If Fernando Santos’ side can beat these two teams, they will have taken a big step towards qualifying for UEFA Euro 2024.
Georgia-Spain (Friday, September 8, 6pm)
Be careful not to fear La Roja. Even with two matches behind their first two matches in Group A (Scotland and Norway), Spain must advance in order not to put themselves in danger. In the standings, Georgia has one point more than La Roja, but with one game more.
In recent years, the Spanish national team has been disappointing in the biggest competitions. He was eliminated from the group stage of the 2014 World Cup, and from the round of 16 of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. At UEFA Euro 2016, Spain was also eliminated in the round of 16. Their performance was more reassuring (half) at Euro 2021.
Beating Georgia on September 8 and Cyprus on September 12: this is the way for La Roja to secure temporary second place in Group A.
North Macedonia – Italy, Premiere of Spalletti (Saturday, September 9, 8:45 pm)
This is the great premiere of Luciano Spalletti. The new coach of the national team will face a ghost from the past that has haunted the night of the Italians: North Macedonia. The Macedonians had eliminated the Italian national team from the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Qatar. As for Roberto Mancini’s successor, we must move forward and not dwell on the past: “We must forget the bitterness of the result that left us scarred and play the style of football that people love”. website.
Italy has no room for error. And the national team must win against North Macedonia to present itself in the best conditions before facing Tuesday the second of Group C, Ukraine, which has 6 points (with a match more than the Italians).
Finland – Denmark (Sunday, September 10, 6pm)
On paper, Group H of Finland and Denmark is not the group of death, but statistically speaking they are. After four rounds, Finland and Kazakhstan occupy the first two places in the group with 9 points, but Denmark and Slovenia are not far behind with 7 points each. Suffice it to say that every match will be decisive, hopefully in the first two matches of Group H.
If Denmark beat Kazakhstan on Thursday, and continue against Finland on Sunday, fellow Danes led by Rasmus Höglund could top Group H.
Germany-France, Dream Poster for a friendly match (Tuesday 12 September, 9pm CET)
The only friendly on the list, but this poster is still a dream. Euro 2024 host nation vs. 2024 Olympic host nation Germany has already automatically qualified for the Euros as the host nation, but the stars will still be everywhere on the grass at Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday. Manshafts led by Hansi Flick will face the Blues, who have already played a qualifying match for Euro 2024 (this Thursday, against Ireland).
Didier Deschamps mainly focuses on the game against the Irish: “There is only one game that matters to us, and that is Thursday’s game against Ireland. I don’t think that getting 12 points out of 12 is already decided.”
So many high stakes matches will be played in the coming days. Even if there are 10 qualifying days in total, the national teams must assert themselves in the hope of qualifying next summer for Euro 2024 in Germany.