European World Cup Qualifiers this Weekend

Sep 02, 2016 by Alex Baker

UEFA World Cup qualifiers are back underway on Sunday and Monday as the continent’s best get back on the road to Russia 2018.

Here are three must-see matches to catch over the three-day weekend.

Slovakia vs. England

Sam Allardyce’s first competitive fixture in charge of England will see the Three Lions taking on Slovakia Saturday. These two teams actually met at Euro 2016 earlier this summer in a group stage encounter that ended in a scoreless draw.

This time around, Allardyce will be looking for more production out of his squad, particularly in the goals department, as he looks to get his career as England manager off on the right foot. That could mean a start for Raheem Sterling who has started the Premier League season off in white-hot form for Manchester City.

While England failed to meet expectations at the Euros, Slovakia could be seen to have exceeded them and will carry that confidence onto the pitch as they welcome England. There has been some turnover in the Slovakian squad since they left France, but the team will still largely revolve around attacking lynchpin Marek Hamsik who will serve as creator-in-chief for a side that is likely to take a defensive approach and try to hit on the counter.

Watch Slovakia vs. England on Sunday September 4 at 12:00 p.m. EST on ESPN 3.

Norway vs. Germany

Reigning world champions Germany get their qualifying campaign back underway with a trip to Oslo to face Norway. Germany had an underwhelming Euro 2016, getting knocked out in the semis by France, and will be looking to get back on track with a win. With the superior talent available to them, Joachim Loew’s team has the firepower to make fairly easy work of a Norwegian side that failed to qualify for the Euros, even with the expanded field of teams.

There has been some turnover in the German team since the World Cup with Bastian Schweinsteiger the most recent player to have played his last match for Die Mannschaft.

But despite the turnover, Loew will still be able to field a star-studded team likely to include the likes of Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller, among others.

Watch Norway vs. Germany on Sunday September 4 at 2:45 p.m. EST on ESPN3.

Spain vs. Liechtenstein

Spain were outstanding in their 2-0 friendly win over Belgium this week and will be expected to make easy work of a Liechtenstein side ranked 182nd in the world. For the first time in more than eight years, Spain aren’t the champions of anything currently. But judging by what we saw against Belgium, new manager Julen Lopetegui looks set on carrying on with the possession-based style that made La Roja Furia so successful under Vicente Del Bosque.

One notable difference against Belgium was the recalling of Diego Costa. The Chelsea striker had fallen out of favor under Del Bosque, but introduced just before the half hour mark against Belgium, he came on to provide a cutting edge that had been noticeably lacking, if not the goals to go with it.

Watch Spain vs. Liechtenstein on Monday September 5 at 2:45pm ET on Fox Sports 1.

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