With domestic league seasons coming to an end, the attention now shifts to international play as the World Cup is only a year away. This week’s international friendly matches will lead in to a June full of World Cup qualifying and the Confederations Cup (June 15-30), the “rehearsal” of sorts for Brazil 2014. Here are some of the best matches of the coming week
Wednesday, May 29
England vs. Ireland, 3pm (ESPN3.com)
They haven’t met since a 1995 riot cut short their meeting in Dublin, but even a friendly has a chance to produce some exciting football.
United States vs. Belgium, 8pm (ESPN, ESPN3.com)
More eyes will likely be on the Americans when they face Germany this weekend, but with most of the best German players missing the trip, the Belgium match may tell us more about the USMNT.
Friday, May 31
Mexico vs. Nigeria, 9pm
Not too appealing on paper, but a matchup between two of the teams in next month’s Confederations Cup should bring out the best in both squads.
Sunday, June 2
United States vs. Germany, 2:30pm (ESPN2)
Despite what I said earlier, a match against one of the world’s best on U.S. soil is still a big deal. Hopefully it will produce some inspired
Brazil vs. England, 3pm
Much was made of Brazilian manager Luiz Felipe Scolari’s youth-filled roster for next month’s schedule. Can they avenge their 2-1 loss to the Brits earlier this year?
Wednesday, June 5
Uruguay vs. France, 3pm
Hard to imagine just four years ago, but The Blues will be coming into this game as the underdog. Meanwhile after a rough 2012, Uruguay needs to right the ship to qualify for Brazil. Next week would be a good place to start before the Confederations Cup.