International friendlies preview: Germany-England, Italy-Spain headline action

AP Photo/Matt Dunham
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While the international break presents plenty of tasty World Cup qualifying fixtures, it is the friendlies that could steal the spotlight with Italy hosting Spain and Germany facing Italy.

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Europe’s top sides will continue their preparations for this summer’s European Championship in France, with almost all of the 24 teams in action.

Germany vs. England

Despite the latest injury to midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, defending World Cup champion Germany boasts a surplus of talent against an up-and-coming England side. Saturday’s meeting will be a big test for Tottenham youngsters Dele Alli and Eric Dier, who look to establish themselves as English regulars, just as Harry Kane has done.

For Joachim Löw’s Germany side, the defense will be an area to monitor, with Mats Hummels and Jonas Hector the only players selected to have made double-digit appearances for Die Mannschaft.

Italy vs. Spain

Following his record-breaking performance with Juventus, Gianluigi Buffon and Italy looks to build momentum heading into this summer’s competition. The Italians seek options in the attack, giving Stephan El Shaarawy and Southampton’s Graziano Pelle the opportunity to stake their claim on a spot in the Azzurri squad.

Spain has made a habit of impressing on the international stage, and Vicente del Bosque will have the chance to look at some of La Furia Roja’s young talent against Italy. In net, Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea seeks the squad’s starting role, hoping to surpass the aging Iker Casillas.

FULL SCHEDULE FOR THIS WEEK’S INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES:

WEDNESDAY

Croatia vs. Israel

Slovenia vs. Macedonia

Romania vs. Lithuania

Gibraltar vs. Lichtenstein

Poland vs. Serbia

THURSDAY

Malta vs. Moldova

Estonia vs. Norway

Greece vs. Montenegro

Turkey vs. Sweden

Denmark vs. Iceland

Ukraine vs. Cyprus

Czech Republic vs Scotland

Italy vs. Spain

Wales vs. Northern Ireland

FRIDAY

Armenia vs. Belarus

Luxembourg vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Slovakia vs. Latvia

Netherlands vs. France

Republic of Ireland vs. Switzerland

Portugal vs. Bulgaria

SATURDAY

Russia vs. Lithuania

Austria vs. Albania

Poland vs. Finland

Azerbaijan vs. Kazakhstan

Hungary vs. Croatia

Germany vs. England

SUNDAY

Romania vs. Spain

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