Friday, October 06, 2006

Euro Qualifiers: What's worth watching

I've limited my comments to matches I think you're likely to take the time to watch (I know, how presumptuous of me); for a full guide to televised matches in the US, click here, but also be sure to check your local listings.

Walter Smith's Scotland side will battle with co-leaders of Group B France, and I fear we're going to see a tightly-packed game played to a draw. Unless one side has delusions of grandeur, or can form something on a counter-attack (particularly with Ribery and Henry), this has potentially has draw written all over it. has a nice preview of the match that'll be on Setanta Sports at noon ET. [The Herald,] 11:55 am ET, Setanta Sports

Lawrie Sanchez has played down criticism after losing 0-3 to Iceland with 3-2 win over Spain, and Northern Ireland sit in the middle of Group F. But it's this inconsistency that Sanchez is concerned with that has given him a taste of the media hype the team hasn't been subjected to in the past. Leeds striker has been kind enough to give us his thoughts to anyone that actually gives a toss. [Guardian, Belfast Telegraph] 2:00 pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel

In other Group B action, Italy host Ukraine at the right time for the Azzurri, with the Ukrainians likely to be without Rotan, Rebrov and striker Andriy Shevchenko. Italy needs some points, and they've done well historically against Ukraine. Alas, maybe I have a lower opinion of national football, but I don't see a real screamer in this match-up either. Luca Toni's doing his best to get his colleagues amped up. [Guardian Unlimited, UEFA] 2:30 pm ET, Setanta Sports, RAI; 4:00 pm Telemundo (delayed)

Luis Aragones' side find themselves in a spot similar to Italy, looking up at leaders and hosts Sweden in Group F. And all is not well in the Spanish camp, as we witnessed earlier with Valencia winger Joaquin's comments about the national side after he was dropped from the team. Now, I usually take anything said from a one-named player with a grain of salt, but we're definitely seeing a Spain squad in crisis. It's a shame really, with so much talent in the team. But we've stopped expecting much from Spain for quite some time. [Sport Network] 5:00 pm, Setanta Sports (delayed)


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