With the big kick off just a few short days away, what better time for a bumper selection of International Friendlies! I’m sure the Prem manager’s will be having kittens at the timing of having their players travelling around the world to compete in these non-competitive exhibition matches but fear not as there is still money to be made for us loyal punters!
Here’s a tasty treble I’ve compiled from the fixture list for Wednesday night:
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South Africa vs Nigeria, KO 19:15
2010 World Cup City Durban hosts this all-African friendly between two of the giants of the continent. The South Africans will have to call on their home advantage against a very talented Nigeria side who are also the current African champions following their Cup of Nations glory earlier this year. Both sides are in good BTTS form with 3 out of their last 4 matches producing at least a goal for either side. Another useful fact is one of the worst kept secrets of African football that goalkeeper’s from the continent are largely shoddy to put it politely, here’s hoping for some calamitous keeping to help us bash the bookies.
Italy vs Argentina, KO 19:45
Another battle of the titans gets underway just before 8pm in Rome in what would routinely be a very tight and cagey affair were these teams to meet in competitive action. However, with the laid back and experimental atmosphere of a friendly match, I’m predicting an all-out goal fest at the Stadio Olimpico lead by the talismanic Messrs Balotelli and Messi for their respective nations. Even the traditionally watertight Italians have let their hair down of late, their last 6 matches have produced an average of 4 goals per game, at an average of scoring 2 and conceding 2!
Portugal vs Holland, KO 20:30
Last Summer’s Euro 2012 Group B rivals do battle as the Netherlands travel to Portugal for a game that looks like an absolute BTTS banker! Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal side proved too much for an off-colour Holland side last summer as the Portuguese winker netted twice to complete a 2-1 turnaround that would ultimately ensure they progressed to the second round at the expense of Le Oranje. The Dutch have plenty of firepower of their own though and with a forward line consisting of Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, it’s not surprising to see that 4 of the last 5 meetings between these nations have ended with both teams finding the net.
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