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International Friendlies Predictions > Mar 27th - 31st

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Wales vs Mexico

The 2022 World Cup Qualification campaign might have started but there has been a random decision taken for some nations to throw friendly fixtures into an already congested match schedule over the coming days. Wales play Mexico inbetween two qualification games in an 8pm GMT kick-off on Saturday night from the Cardiff City Stadium.

Wales began their World Cup qualification process with an encouraging albeit disappointing 3-1 defeat away to Belgium. The performance from the Dragons showed signs of quality with the team opening the scoring with one of their greatest goals ever scored. Unfortunately, individual errors allowed Belgium to get the win but it did show Wales can compete with the very best and are not far off being where they want to be ahead of the 2020 European Championship this summer. This game will undoubtedly be used for Robert Page to rest key players and give squad players some game time. The fact Chris Gunter is starting and will probably be given the captaincy for his 100th international cap sums up the attitude for this encounter. I imagine the likes of Ben Cabango, Matthew Smith, and Tom Lawrence will all be given starts here.

Mexico are one of those teams that should never be underestimated. The North American nation are ranked 9th in the FIFA World Rankings and have lost just 1 of their last 22 matches including going unbeaten for the previous 10 matches. Yes, they have played a lot of those games against smaller nations such as Martinique, Cuba, Haiti, and Bermuda but they have still notched up big wins over the likes of Netherlands, Chile, USA, and Japan. Head coach Gerardo Martino will have one eye on the friendly with Costa Rica in midweek so it'll be interesting to see how he rotates his squad. Mexico boast quality like Guillermo Ochoa, Nestor Araujo, Andres Guardado, Hector Herrera, Jesus Corona, and Hirving Lozano so this will be a challenge for Wales no matter who starts.

I feel that this game is as close as to being an insignificant game as you'll see at international level. The sides have met 4 times previously with 2 draws and Mexico winning twice. The last meeting came back in 2018 which ended in a dour 0-0. I wouldn't be surprised to see a similar outcome here but do think Mexico will be fresher and field a stronger team so feel we could lose this 1-0 or 2-0.

Mexico to Win @ 1.91 with Betfair

Total Goals Scored Under 2.5 @ 1.62 with Matchbook

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Northern Ireland vs USA

The decision to play random friendlies during a congested fixture schedule in the middle of a global pandemic continues to mystify me but, again, here we are with Northern Ireland entertaining USA in a 5:05pm BST kick-off on Sunday afternoon at Windsor Park. The likely scenario here is that both teams will use this game as an opportunity to experiment with their starting XI.

Northern Ireland began their 2022 World Cup qualification campaign with a brave display in a 2-0 loss to one of the favourites for the 2020 European Championship in Italy. Head coach Ian Baraclough knows his team face a crucial qualification game at home to Bulgaria in midweek so will use this game to give a number of fringe players a chance to push for a starting spot. The likes of Conor Hazard, Daniel Ballard, Ciaron Brown, Ali McCann, Matty Kennedy, and Dion Charles could all be given the chance to shine. It's now 11 games without a win for Northern Ireland as they struggle to find a win in this post-Michael O'Neill era.

USA will provide an interesting test for Northern Ireland in this game. The North American side are ranked 22nd in the FIFA World Rankings and the Stars and Stripes are flourishing under head coach Gregg Berhalter. It's 8 games undefeated for the Americans and even though they have largely faced reputedly inferior opposition such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, El Salvador, and Canada it's still impressive to see they have won by an aggregate of 32-4 over those 8 matches. A friendly against Switzerland awaits in midweek but there is no doubt Berhalter will want to see the team continue their current fine form. Berhalter has called up a number of inexperienced players with the squad containing 13 players that have 4 caps or less for their country. Maybe fans of British football will hope to see the likes of Manchester City's Zack Steffen, Fulham's Antonee Robinson and Tim Ream, Wolves' Owen Otasowie, Chelsea's Christian Pulisic, and Barnsley's Daryl Dike in action.

It does seem like this will be a big experiment for both teams so it's anyone's guess which way this game will go. You have just as much chance chucking a £5 bet on the roulette wheel. Right now, I wouldn't back Northern Ireland to beat anyone but you always know that whoever they field will give 100%. I think the quality of the USA should get them a narrow win but if Berhalter fields a largely uncapped and limited cap XI then they might be there for the taking. Tough to call but yeah I'll take a punt on the away win.

USA to Win @ 1.75 with Betway

Total Goals Scored Under 2.5 @ 1.67 with Betfair

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Qatar vs Republic of Ireland

The list of meaningless friendlies goes on and this time it's Qatar versus Republic of Ireland in a 7:30pm BST kick-off on Tuesday night at the Nagyerdei Stadium in Debrecen, Hungary. It seems mind-boggling that the 2022 World Cup hosts are travelling half way across the world during a global pandemic but that's FIFA for you. Can the Irish bounce back after their humiliation over the weekend?

Qatar are currently involved in playing friendlies against teams in Group A of the 2022 World Cup qualification process for the European section. It is to ensure they get a decent number of friendlies in before the tournament next year. It's a decision that seems to be bizarre given the current global situation. Anyway, here we are. Qatar have so far beaten Luxembourg 1-0 and Azerbaijan 2-1 so they remain unbeaten. Head coach Felix Sanchez has been forced to rely more on players born in Qatar after the country was criticised for over-relying on naturalised players. He is now putting his faith on experience with 9 players having earned 50 caps or more including Saad Al Sheeb in goal, defenders Abdelkarim Hassan and Boualem Khoukhi, midfielder pair Hassan Al-Haydos and Karim Boudiaf, and striker Almoez Ali.

Republic of Ireland come into this game at arguably their lowest point in the country's history. The 1-0 loss at home to Luxembourg on the weekend is rightly being considered as one of the worst results not only in the history of Irish football but one of the worst out of any of the European nations. Stephen Kenny is doing his best to handle a poor Irish squad that has also been hit by a lot of injuries and experiencing a complete lack of confidence. The 2022 World Cup now seems an unrealistic target after two defeats from two games but this is a chance for Kenny to start the rebuild. I imagine we'll see Kenny going all out to get a win here in an effort to try and get the team back to winning ways.

This would be a game that you'd ordinarily expect Republic of Ireland to win but there is such a lack of experience and self belief in this Irish squad that you'd be forgiven for wanting to avoid betting on them at all costs. Qatar are proving they can pick up results against the so-called lower quality nations and do Republic of Ireland currently fit into that category? I think a draw seems a fair bet but then I also wouldn't be surprised to see Qatar win this one with the Irish nightmare continuing.

Draw @ 3.45 with VBet

Total Goals Scored Under 2.5 @ 1.67 with Betfair

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