By JOHN BOSCHINI
A couple of high-profile friendlies and a handful of EURO 2012 qualifiers highlight Tuesday’s action as the international break continues.
England takes on Ghana in a matchup of two U.S. opponents from the 2010 World Cup. England will look to vet new players like Jack Wilshere and Matthew Jarvis while 30-year-old Scott Parker is making a case for a full-time position in the starting lineup.
Many of the English stars that have Champions League games coming up like Wayne Rooney, John Terry and Michael Dawson were allowed to return to their clubs. Ghana, the winner of the 2009 U-20 World Cup and flush with young talent, is unbeaten under new coach Goran Stevanovic. Sunderland teammates Asamoah Gyan and captain John Mensah provide veteran leadership to this talented but inexperienced group.
Here are some other international friendlies to watch this week:
In other international action featuring World Cup sides, Germany takes on Australia. Germany is enjoying a perfect European qualifying campaign and thrashed the Socceroos 4-0 in the World Cup.
A newcomer to keep an eye on is Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mario Gotze, who is expected to feature and is being eyed as a possible replacement for Paul Scholes at Manchester United.
Australia is using the friendly as a testing ground for some new players as it tries to find replacements for the aging Tim Cahill, Mark Schwarzer and Harry Kewel. Under new coach Holger Osiek, Australia only loss came in the final of the Asian Cup to Japan, winning six in that time frame.
Two sides who are struggling to find their footing face each other when France takes on Croatia. France sees the home return of Franck Ribery and Patrice Evra, who spearheaded the revolt in South Africa. Croatia, on the other hand, failed to qualify for last summer’s World Cup despite being ranked eight in the world.
South American teams are also busy gearing up for this summer’s Copa America and feature in some intriguing friendlies. Colombia takes on Chile as the La Roja look to build on a second-round appearance in South Africa. Ecuador takes on Peru on a battle of the long shots for this summer’s tournament while possible favorite Argentina will feature against CONCACAF opposition Costa Rica and Venezuela takes on Mexico.
While most European teams won’t play competitive games Tuesday, there are a few Euro 2012 qualifiers taking place. Turkey and Austria, who are third and fourth in Group A respectively, square off in a virtual must-win for both teams. Spain takes on tiny Lithuania and The Netherlands faces an easy test against visiting Hungary as both teams look likely to coast to qualification.
Japan vs. New Zealand, canceled
South Korea vs. Montenegro, 6:00 a.m.
China vs. Honduras, 7:35 a.m.
Belarus vs. Canada, 11:00 a.m.
Qatar vs. Russian, 11:30 a.m.
Ecuador vs. Peru, 12:00
Cyprus vs. Bulgaria, 1:00
Slovakia vs. Denmark, 2:15
Colombia vs. Chile, 2:30
Greece vs. Poland, 2:30
Germany vs. Australia, 2:45
Ireland vs. Uruguay, 2:45
Ukraine vs. Italy, 2:45
France vs. Croatia, 3:00
England vs. Ghana, 3:00
Portugal vs. Finland, 3:45
USA vs. Paraguay, 8:00
Costa Rica vs. Argentina, 10:00
Mexico vs. Venezuela, 11:00
Euro 2012 Qualifying
Turkey vs. Austria, 1:30
Belgium vs. Azerbaijan, 2:45
Estonia vs. Serbia, 2:30
Northern Ireland vs. Slovenia, 2:45
Romania vs. Luxembourg, 1:45
Sweden vs. Moldova, 1:00
Netherlands vs. Hungary, 2:30
Israel vs. Georgia, 1:05
Czech Republic vs. Liechtenstein, 11:30 a.m.
Lithuania vs. Spain, 2:45
What do you think of tomorrow's action? Which game are you most looking forward to? Do you put much stock in international friendlies to begin with?
Share your thoughts below.