The most exciting fixtures from the international break
The international break often divides opinion. With some supporters seeing their country play as a privilege, especially for the smaller nations, and others viewing it as often meaningless games that are a burden as they disrupt the domestic season.
While they may not always prove to be the most popular viewing, there is always a sense of anticipation in the air for international games, with countries looking to cause an upset in the online betting.
Last time around the controversy regarding travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic overshadowed some really great games as we approach the business end of the World Cup qualifiers as well as the Nations League. With that in mind, here are the matches we enjoyed the most during this set of international fixtures.
Belgium vs France
When the concept of a Nations League was first introduced it was viewed as a secondary competition, something that will filter through and flash by as a glorified friendly match, but as Belgium took on France, excitement started to build as expected. Both sides exited Euro 2020 prematurely, with Switzerland upsetting the online betting tips and dumping Didier Deschamps’ side out on penalties, whilst the Belgians lost to eventual winners and potential final opponents Italy.
This match was full of chances and produced one of the best comebacks we are likely to see this season. Belgium stormed into a 2-0 lead with goals from Yannick Carrasco and Romelu Lukaku but when Karim Benzema pulled one back on the hour mark France controlled proceedings and a late Theo Hernández winner would ensure they reached the final against Italy, which they went on to win.
England vs Hungary
The scenes in Budapest when England last played Hungary were disgusting to say the least. The Three Lions did not let the atmosphere overwhelm them that night and cruised to a 4-0 victory, they had the opportunity to play that exciting brand of attacking football again when the sides met at Wembley. Gareth Southgate tweaked his squad slightly, introducing the likes of James Ward-Prowse and Tammy Abraham to the fold while Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips and Trent Alexander-Arnold, who was utilised in an unfamiliar midfielder role in their last set of qualifiers, had withdrawn due to injury.
Hungary started the day fourth in their group and drowned out Wembley at times as a lacklustre English side staggered to a 1-1 draw. Perhaps not a classic like the last game but watching a side defend in numbers and work together as a team like Hungary did, showing grit and determination, it was great for a neutral — it is just a shame their fans’ actions often overshadow their teams’ performances.
Colombia vs Brazil
While it may appear contradictory to class a goalless draw as entertaining, Colombia put in a great display to end Brazil’s winning run in Barranquilla. Tite’s side looked toothless at times, struggling to create any clear chances against a well organised Colombian unit. The highlight of the match was when Brazil introduced their two new wingers off the bench.
Raphinha and Anthony both injected some much-needed pace into the game, especially during a time where it looked like things had gone flat and chances were becoming harder to find. Raphinha's ball to the Ajax man and several other chances were unable to penetrate former Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina’s net but there was plenty of encouragement for Brazil as they have all but booked their place on the plane for Qatar next winter.