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International Friendly: Cause of Concern for Euro 2024 Contenders?

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There have been a lot of International Friendly matches throughout last week, as many teams are preparing for the Copa America and Euro 2024, which will start later this week.

While most teams got what they wanted, which was to build momentum while experimenting with different combinations, that hasn’t been the case for powerhouse teams like England and France.

The Three Lions suffered a 1-0 defeat against Iceland on Saturday, while Les Bleus couldn’t get a victory against Canada on Monday.

Elsewhere, in the USA, Brazil secured a thrilling 3-2 win against Mexico in a game that’s filled with International Friendly 2024 highlights.

Just in case you missed it, worry not, as SBOTOP has you covered with the latest updates about some of the biggest exhibition games.

 

England need to shake off rust fast

The Three Lions’ loss against Iceland on Saturday was not according to plan because it should’ve been a proper send-off game for them before they head to Germany.

Despite controlling 69-per cent of the possession, it was Iceland that scored the only goal of the contest, courtesy of Jón Dagur Þorsteinsson in the 12th minute.

England had chances to score, but they just couldn’t convert. Anthony Gordon’s attempt two minutes after Þorsteinsson’s goal sailed over the bar, and Harry Kane missed a golden opportunity in the 28th minute when he tipped Cole Palmer’s cross over from six yards out.

Iceland almost doubled their lead in the 63rd minute through Þorsteinsson’s attempt, but his slice shot went wide. England pressed for a late equaliser, but they were unable to do so.

As mentioned in the header, rust is an issue for England because a number of Gareth Southgate’s players were lacking in sharpness.

John Stones could’ve prevented Þorsteinsson’s goal, and it didn’t help the Three Lions when he was subbed off at halftime after he tweaked his ankle. Ezri Konsa, who doesn’t have much national team experience, will likely start in the opener against Serbia if Stones doesn’t recover in time.

Kieran Trippier also looked off pace as the team’s starting left-back, which is normally occupied by Luke Shaw.

Gareth Southgate will also have to figure out how to re-integrate Jude Bellingham into the squad after being given the day off against Iceland, as he is central to England’s chances.

 

France held to uninspiring draw

Didier Deschamps didn’t have his best starting XI against Canada, as Kylian Mbappe came off the bench. In his place, Marcus Thuram was given a rare start up front alongside Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, and Ousmane Dembele.

Still, even with that frontline, the International Friendly 2024 odds were in favour of Les Bleus, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

France had their share of chances at goal, but Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau had three fine saves to foil them.

France have been held to a goalless draw by Canada during their international friendly ahead of Euro 2024
France manager Didier Deschamps celebrates with supporters after winning against Denmark in World Cup 2022 group stage match

Canada would get their own chances on the counterattack through Alphonso Davies, but it was Jonathan David who was closest to putting the Maple Leafs ahead. The Lille star should’ve scored, but he opted to square the ball across goal, which was cleared by William Saliba.

France’s last chance came when Kylian Mbappe got involved late, but his first attempt went over the bar, and his final kick was saved again by Maxime Crepeau.

Despite their subpar performance last night, there’s a bit of good news for Les Bleus, as one of their veterans was one of the best players on the pitch.

A few weeks ago, Didier Deschamps surprised everyone when he recalled N’Golo Kante to the squad. However, the Al-Ittihad man reminded everyone of his brilliance in midfield last night.

 

Endrick not afraid of the spotlight

The matchup between Mexico and Brazil didn’t disappoint, as both sides went back and forth, and the game was ultimately decided in the final moments.

Andreas Pereira and Gabriel Martinelli put the Samba Boyz ahead by 2-0, but El Tri didn’t back down, and they drew level, courtesy of an own goal from Yan Couto and an added time score from Guillermo Martinez Ayala.

Brazil needed a moment of magic, and they got it through Endrick, as the 17-year-old wunderkind came off the bench and scored the winning goal by heading in a brilliant cross from his future Real Madrid teammate, Vinicius Junior, in the 96th minute.

Before this game, Endrick became the youngest goalscorer in an international match at Wembley when he scored against England in March. Overall, the Real Madrid-bound starlet now has three goals in the space of 93 minutes for the Samba Boyz this year.

   

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