Only a few weeks after being disappointing in the recent Euro finals, France, Spain and Portugal will have a chance to fall behind them when the 2022 World Cup qualifiers resume. The second leg will start on Wednesday, with France v Bosnia-Herzegovina being one of the key figures. Cristiano Ronaldo is set to be very prepared for the debut.
Blues manager Didier Deschamps made some changes to his squad for the Group D clash, knocking out Olivier Giroud but still calling on Manchester United’s Anthony Martial. He also called up four untapped players. Deschamps told reporters the decision to remove Giroud is not a sign the striker is no longer in a role. “Olivier remains, his situation changed when he moved to AC Milan, where he now has more playing time. “It is a sporting choice of the moment in a competitive environment with the return of Anthony Martial,” he said.
Three days after receiving the Bosnians at the Meinau stadium in Strasbourg, the Blues face a difficult away game in Kiev against Ukraine. Ukraine have advanced to the group stage against Portugal for Euro 2020, but have just three points from their first three World Cup qualifiers, having drawn in 11 matches, including disappointing draws at home ahead of Kazakhstan and Finland. Also on Wednesday, Portugal will face the Republic of Ireland in Faro in Group A.
Ireland were handicapped by Luxembourg 10 at home in the last game and after losing both matches Stephen Kenny’s side urgently need three points. For Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Wednesday’s game and six days later against Azerbaijan will be another chance to break the all-time international goalscoring record. Ronaldo, who is set to join Manchester United, currently has 109 goals, as does Iranian Ali Daei. In Group B, Sweden host Spain in a high-level clash at Solna on Thursday.
The Swedes are one point behind the Spaniards, but have a game to play and will find themselves in a very good position if they get three out of three wins. Euro finalists England lead Group I with nine points from three matches and two points ahead of Hungary, which they face in Budapest on Thursday.
Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate called up Patrick Bamford for the first time, rewarding the striker for his impressive performances with Leeds in the Premier League last season. “There’s an opportunity for Patrick to be number nine,” Southgate said. \u201cHis progress with Leeds has been outstanding, he was so close at the end of last season. We worked with him at U21 level, so we know him anyway, and it was a special time for his family. He will also face Andorra at Wembley Stadium on Sunday and Poland in Warsaw three days later. The two undefeated teams of Italy and Switzerland, Euro champions in Group C, will face each other on Sunday in Basel. Italy, who also met Bulgaria and Lithuania in the international break, won three matches, while Switzerland won both. With so many great games on offer, football fans are spoiled for choice.
Luckily for Ghanaian fans, the continent’s leading digital TV operator is broadcasting the best of the action in HD on StarTimes Sports channels across Africa. Peter AUF der Heyde Peter Auf der Heyde is an award-winning football journalist and author who covers the major European leagues. A South African, he is particularly interested in Africa’s connection to European football and has streamed 12 consecutive Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. Formerly the British sporting director of the German Press Association, he is one of the main experts in the Bundesliga. Auf der Heyde has played professionally for Bosmont Chelsea in the South African top flight and is currently spending time migrating between South Africa, Germany and England.