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Five fixtures to watch during October’s international break

The international break is back with players jetting off across the globe to represent their nations in friendly fixtures and qualification games.

Autumn brings pause to the Premier League campaign for international action, but there’s plenty to look forward to during October’s internationals.

We’ve picked out five of the best fixtures taking place during October’s international break.

 

Five fixtures to watch during October’s international break:

Spain vs Scotland – Thursday, October 12

Scotland sit on the verge of securing a place at Euro 2024 after an unforgettable start to their qualification campaign, winning five from five to sit six points clear at the top of Group A. The Tartan Army have secured memorable wins over Spain and Norway to date and next face a rematch with the Spanish at the Estadio de La Cartuja in Seville.

Span suffered a shock defeat at Hampden Park earlier in the campaign as Scott McTominay scored twice to seal a famous victory for the home side, but have been flawless aside from that blip and scored 13 goals in big wins over Georgia and Cyprus in September.

Spain should pose a more formidable challenge in Seville, but Scotland are full of confidence right now – despite a friendly defeat to England last month – and are keen to get the job done. Steve Clarke’s side need just two points from their final three games, though will qualify for next summer’s finals if Norway fail to beat Cyprus on Thursday.

Netherlands vs France – Friday, October 13

Group B’s top two meet for a second time in qualification on Friday evening, with the Netherlands keen to avenge a humbling loss to the French last time out.

France have five wins from five games in qualification and are cruising towards Euro 2024, a run which included a Kylian Mbappe-inspired 4-0 thrashing of the Dutch at the Stade de France in March.

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France have failed to concede a single goal to date to underline their status as one of the favourites for success next summer and Les Bleus will qualify for the finals with a win against the Netherlands.

Defeat for the Dutch would leave them facing a fight to secure their place at the finals, ahead of a huge showdown with third-placed Greece in Athens on Monday.

Wales vs Croatia – Sunday, October 15

It’s crunch time for Wales in their bid to reach Euro 2024, with their final three fixtures in qualification against the sides directly above them in a fiercely contested Group D.

Just three points separate Croatia, Turkey, Armenia and the Welsh, ahead of the former’s arrival at the Cardiff City Stadium this weekend. Croatia lead the group and have a game in hand on the chasing pack, having also reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in Qatar last winter.

Luka Modric – the face of Croatia’s modern Golden Generation – is still turning out in the red and white aged 38, leading an emerging generation headlined by Manchester City centre-back Joško Gvardiol.

Wales are also in transition and have six uncapped faces in their current squad. The absence of Tottenham’s Brennan Johnson is a blow to Rob Page ahead of a crucial clash in Cardiff.

England vs Italy – Tuesday, October 17

England are another team nearing a place at Euro 2024 and sit six points clear at the top of Group C ahead of Tuesday’s meeting with Italy.

Gareth Southgate’s team take on Australia in a friendly on Friday, before hosting the second-placed Italians – and reigning European champions – at Wembley. The visitors have a game in hand on England, but have struggled for goals in qualification so far with just six from their four games.

England won the reverse fixture 2-1 in Naples in March, in a fixture that saw Harry Kane break Wayne Rooney’s goalscoring record for the national team.

Bukayo Saka has been ruled out of the international break in a blow to Southgate’s squad, who need goals from other avenues if the Three Lions are to challenge next summer. Only Kane (59) and Marcus Rashford (16) have scored more goals than Harry Maguire (7) in the current squad, an indication of the over-reliance on the England captain.

Jude Bellingham will hope to improve on a record of two goals in 26 caps, after a stunning start to his career at Real Madrid.

Uruguay vs Brazil – Wednesday, October 18

South America’s gruelling qualification campaign for the 2026 World Cup has began, with Brazil top of the table after two wins from two to date.

The five-time world champions disappointed in Qatar last winter and will be keen to prove a point when the World Cup returns in the USA, Canada and Mexico in 2026.

Currently under the management of caretaker coach Fernando Diniz, the vacant role is expected to be taken by Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti at the end of the European season. Diniz will hope to leave Ancelotti in a favourable position, ahead of clashes with Ecuador and Uruguay in October.

The latter is always an eagerly anticipated meeting between two of South America’s most successful nations, with Uruguay rebuilding as icons Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani reach the latter stages of their careers. Real Madrid midfielder Fede Valverde captains a team that contains a sprinkling of stars from elite European teams, including Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo, PSG’s Manuel Ugarte and Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez.

Read – Ranking the 10 best centre-backs in the Premier League

Read Also – Remembering when Eden Hazard ruled the Premier League in 2014/15

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