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The final international break of 2020 is here, and it promises to be an exciting end to the year on the global stage with World Cup and European Championship qualifiers, as well as UEFA Nations League action, on the menu over the next ten days or so.

Argentina, Brazil and Colombia are all in action as they continue their bids to reach Qatar 2022, while Portugal, France, Belgium and England are all involved in important European encounters as the likes of Serbia and Scotland battle to reach next summer's Euro.

The Netherlands and Spain headline an appetising selection of friendly encounters, which have been impacted by the non-release of players for international duty with certain nations due to the ongoing COVID crisis and clashes between some clubs and international federations.

Here is what we are looking forward to seeing.


The midweek slate of friendly fixtures is headlined by the Netherlands meeting Spain in Amsterdam with the Dutch yet to win under new coach Frank de Boer and important Nations League games against Bosnia and Poland coming up with Oranje third in League A Group 1.

Spain have won two of their last five fixtures, with four of those matches being in the Nations League but they were beaten last time out by Ukraine in Kiev by a Viktor Tsygankov goal.

Both squads are loaded with talent and are also fairly youthful, which could mean that De Boer and opposite number Luis Enrique both experiment with their selections.


The highlight on Thursday has to be the Euro 2020 qualification finals with Serbia against Scotland in Belgrade arguably the most attractive of the four path finals.

The hosts have never qualified for the Euros playing solely as Serbia, while Scotland have only ever reached two editions -- the last one being in 1996.

Hungary vs. Iceland is another interesting matchup, particularly given the way that both countries won plaudits in getting out of their 2016 groups in France, but Serbia and Scotland create the most high-profile encounter.

And elsewhere, of course, the United States men's national team has a friendly against Wales, with a mostly European based squad including stars like Christian Pulsiic, as well as young players like Gio Reyna and Yunus Musah looking for their first caps with the senior squad.


When Friday rolls around, the South American World Cup qualifiers take centre stage with some intriguing doubleheaders.

Argentina face Paraguay in Buenos Aires before travelling to Lima to take on Peru and with six points from a possible six, Lionel Scaloni's men are looking solid so far.

However, with Uruguay and Brazil first up in 2021, the Albiceleste could use maximum points from these two matches and the return of Angel Di Maria boosts their creativity.

Colombia and La Celeste are also in action in Barranquilla with both already having already dropped points and tough fixtures on the horizon, both need points here.

Uruguay, who have Manchester United's Edinson Cavani back, are arguably in the weaker position after losing one of their first two games -- away at Ecuador -- and with Brazil to come next week.


The Brazilians take us into the weekend when they clash with Venezuela in Sao Paulo but with six points from six and up against one of two nations to have lost their first two qualifiers, Tite is more likely to be concerned about the Uruguay meeting.

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar is with the squad after a tug-of-war between Brazil and the French champions over his adductor injury, but doctor Rodrigo Lasmar has already ruled the 28-year-old out of the first game.

Saturday also brings the summit meeting between Portugal and France in League A Group 3 of the Nations League.

Both sides are locked on 10 points meaning that the winner will pull clear at the top with just one round of fixtures to come next week.

Like Neymar, star man Kylian Mbappe is with France after resistance from PSG because of a hamstring issue, and the 21-year-old is expected to miss the midweek Finland friendly ahead of Portugal.


Sunday's slate of Nations League action features an important meeting between Belgium and England in League A Group 2, while the Netherlands also need a result against Bosnia in Group 1.

Gareth Southgate's men are two points behind the Belgians in the table and can overtake Roberto Martinez's men with a win ahead of home fixtures in the final round.

After drawing away at Denmark and then losing at home, England could do with the win against Belgium in the hope that they then beat Denmark in a match that could be complicated because of the Scandinavian nation's policy on travelling during the current COVID crisis which impacts call-ups.


Denmark are not the only ones with selection headaches as certain local health authorities have blocked Italy from calling up players from those areas in a move that FIGC president Gianluca Gravina warned could bring sanctions.

Lazio, Roma and Fiorentina players remain banned from travelling after coronavirus cases within their respective club squads while Inter Milan players can report for duty on the condition that the national teams in question provide private transport.

Club vs. Country

PSG's battles with Brazil and France over Neymar and Mbappe have been the main examples of friction between clubs and countries this international break but Sweden have been deprived of five British-based players including Manchester United's Victor Lindelof.

Denmark also continue to sweat over Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg of Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City's Kasper Schmeichel as both would miss a fortnight of action through quarantine upon their club returns.