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Sweden-Brazil, a farewell in more ways than one?
by Paul Kennedy, August 14th, 2012 11:53PM

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TAGS:  brazil, england, france, germany, italy, nasl, netherlands, russia, spain

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[INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES] There are 50-odd international friendlies on tap for Wednesday. Here's a look at some of the big games ...

SWEDEN-BRAZIL. The Sweden-Brazil match is the farewell to Stockholm's Rasunda Stadium, where Brazil beat Sweden, 5-2, to win the 1958 World Cup. It could also be the farewell for embattled Brazil coach Mano Menezes, whose team fell to Mexico in Saturday's final at the Olympics. Chelsea's Ramires and Barcelona's Dani Alves are among the players who have joined the U-23s in Stockholm.

SPAIN-PUERTO RICO. Spain will make its first appearance in Puerto Rico -- a Spanish colony from the 1500s until 1898 -- when they meet at the renovated Ramon Loubriel Stadium in Bayamon. Spain will be without Barcelona's Euro 2012 champions, Xavi (rest) and Jordi Alba (coming off Olympic duty), but five players each from Barcelona and Real Madrid are in the Spain squad. Ten members of the Puerto Rico Islanders were held out of Sunday's NASL game against FC Edmonton to prepare for the Spain game. The Puerto Rico roster also includes New York Red Bulls keeper Bill Gaudette and five collegians.

BELGIUM-NETHERLANDS. Luis Van Gaal begins his second stint with the Netherlands against Belgium in Brussels. His big move was to drop veteran midfielder Mark van Bommel from the team and hand the captain's armband to Wesley Sneijder. Van Gaal also called up six uncapped players: Bruno Martins Indi and Stefan de Vrij (both Feyenoord), Nick Viergever and Adam Maher (both AZ), Bas Dost (Wolfsburg) and Ricardo van Rhijn (Ajax).

FRANCE-URUGUAY. Deschamps has laid down the law on the Bleus, heavily criticized for their bad attitude at Euro 2012.  "I really want everyone to have the right attitude and behave properly," Deschamps explains. "If anyone doesn't do that, they'll be condemning themselves, not me." Samir Nasri and Jeremy Menez are suspended because of incidents at Euro 2012, while Hatem Ben Arfa and Yann M'Vila, whose comportment was questioned, have not been called up. Deschamps, the former France captain, called the move "consistent to me given what I expect from the players in terms of attitude and behavior."

RUSSIA-IVORY COAST. Fabio Capello, who replaced Dutchman Dick Advocaat as Russia coach, retained Andrei Arshavin as captain despite heavy criticism in the Russian press, which blamed the Arsenal midfielder for Russia's early exit from Euro 2012. "Everyone deserves a second chance," the former England coach said. "This is his chance to prove to everyone that he still plays an important role in this team. I want to see Arshavin showing his best quality on the pitch and again becoming the player everyone loved to watch."

GERMANY-ARGENTINA. Germany's game with Argentina in Berlin will give it a chance to move forward after the disappointment of its surprise exit from Euro 2012 in the semifinals. "We have to look forward, that's the most important thing," said Marco Reus, who joined Borussia Dortmund from Borussia Moenchengladbach after being Germany's 2011-12 Player of the Year. "We want to make a new start against Argentina." Germany will be without Manuel Neuer, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Gomez and Philipp Lahm.

ENGLAND-ITALY. England and Italy meet seven weeks after they faced off in the quarterfinals at Euro 2012, but there are few similarities between those teams and the ones in Berne, Switzerland, for Wednesday's friendly. Roy Hodgson's squad included only three players who started in Kiev -- Joleon Lescott, Ashley Young and James Milner -- while Italy star Andrea Pirlo and the rest of his Juventus teammates were left out of the Azzurri team.



1 comment
  1. Andres Yturralde
    commented on: August 15, 2012 at 9:54 a.m.
    What a beautiful way to start my morning, Paul! Thanks for putting this together!!

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