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International Break: The Tito's Takes

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Another contributor steps up to help fill the empty spaces left by International Duty as we all wait not-so-patiently for our Purple heroes to get back to work on the field of glory.

Claudio Villa
Here's a brief roundup of international break news and scores.

UEFA

Iceland held Croatia to a scoreless draw in Reykjavik, despite conceding nearly seventy percent possession, six shots on goal, and a man advantage for the second half. Ante Rebic (wearing number nine) came on in the seventy-second minute for Eduardo. He took one shot and was fouled twice.

In the other games, Greece beat Romania 3-1 in Athens, Ukraine ambushed France 2-0 in Kiev, and the Portugal Ronaldos eased past the Sweden Ibrahimovices in Lisbon--a different Neto (plays with Zenit) was an unused substitute.

AFC

Syria hammered Singapore 4-0. Thailand lost at home to Iran 0-3. Kuwait and Lebanon played a goalless draw. China beat Indonesia 1-0. Saudi Arabia defeated Iraq 2-0. Yemen fell to Qatar 4-1, so maybe that World Cup is actually a really great idea, guys. Bahrain edged Malaysia 1-0. Vietnam was thrashed 0-3 by Uzbekistan. UAE crushed Hong Kong 4-0.

CAF

Nigeria beat Ethiopia 2-0, chalking up a 4-1 aggregate win and punching a ticket to the finals. Senegal tied Cote d'Ivoire 1-1, but lost 4-2 on aggregate, sending the Elephants to Brazil. Cameroon stomped Tunisia 4-1 to secure qualification as well.

Playoffs

Uruguay blasted Jordan 5-0 in Amman, virtually guaranteeing a spot in the finals. Mexico did the same to New Zealand at the Azteca with a resounding 4-1 victory.

Friendlies

Juan Cuadrado was subbed out in the sixty-ninth minute of Colombia's 2-0 win over Belgium. Potential Viola target Luis Muriel also started and was subbed at the hour mark.

Former Viola striker Haris Severovic played seventy minutes in Switzerland's shocking 2-1 loss to South Korea; former fan favorite Valon Behrami wasn't even on the bench. Russia and Serbia played 2-2 draw; Nenad Tomovic wasn't called up. Giuseppe Rossi and Manuel Pasqual stayed on the bench for Italy's 2-2 draw with Germany. Neither of David Pizarro nor Matias Fernandez was selected for Chile's 2-0 win over England. Argentina and Ecuador played out a 0-0; Facundo Roncaglia drew the start but exited in the sixty-third minute for Pablo Zabaleta, while Gonzalo Rodriguez wasn't called up.

Neto wasn't selected for Brazil's 5-0 demolition of Honduras. Ditto for Borja Valero in Spain's ugly 2-1 win over Equatorial Guinea.

Upcoming

Italy takes on Nigeria in a Monday friendly; Rossi and Pasqual can both expect to get some minutes, and, for the former, a start. Argentina will also take on Bosnia-Herzegovina, so Roncaglia could see some more time as well.

All four UEFA playoff games are on Tuesday; Ante Rebic's Croatia will have another go at solving Iceland's defense with the prize of qualification for the finals in sight.

Egypt will take on Ghana in CAF World Cup qualifier, albeit without seemingly permanently injured Viola centerback Ahmed Hegazy. Algeria and Burkina Faso will meet in the other fixture.

AFC qualifiers will also start off. The matchups are Syria vs. Oman, Lebanon vs. Iran, Kuwait vs. Thailand, China vs. Saudi Arabia, Indonesia vs. Iraq, Malaysia vs. Qatar, Bahrain vs. Yemen, Hong Kong vs. Uzbekistan, and the UAE vs. Vietnam.

New Zealand will host Mexico in a dead rubber match.

There's also a full slate of friendlies. Spain, still refusing to call up Borja, will play South Africa. The Netherlands and Colombia will clash in what should be an entertaining match. Brazil will take on Chile, so keep an eye out for Matias Fernandez and possibly David Pizarro. Some other notable matches are Russia vs. South Korea, Belgium vs. Japan, Austria vs. USA, and England vs. Germany. Also, Gibraltar will play their first UEFA-sanctioned match ever, against Slovakia.

Uruguay will host Jordan on Wednesday in an entirely irrelevant qualifier.

Fiorentina will resume action Sunday, November 24, against Udinese.





Thanks
Tito Kohout