International Football Friendly Fixtures

Durban, SOUTH AFRICA: Bafana Bafana player Sibusiso Zuma celebrates after scoring a goal during the Africa Cup of Nations Group 11 Qualifying match against Chad at Durban's ABSA Rugby stadium 02 June 2007. (RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP/Getty Images)With qualifications for the European Championships, the Copa América and the African Cup of Nations tournaments taking centre stage, opportunities to organise international football friendly fixtures is extremely limited. This has, however, not stopped the world governing body, FIFA, from setting up a number of mouthwatering clashes until the end of 2007.

The busiest of the international teams will be 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa. Bafana Bafana, as they are nicknamed, will face two tough challenges before 2007 is up. Neighbours Zambia recently tested the odds against their fellow African team, losing 3-4, before the United States of America, ranked 18th in the FIFA/Coca Cola World Rankings, visit the 2010 hosts. South Africa’s footballing year is then wrapped up with a visit to Canada towards the end of November 2007.

Probably the highlight of the rest of the 2007’s international football friendly fixtures will be Austria v England at the Ernst Happel Stadion on November 16. England, after enduring a troubled qualification campaign for the 2008 European Championships, may be looking at entrenching some new talent in the team. Look out for the two teenage wingers, Aaron Lennon of Tottenham Hotspurs and Arsenal’s Theo Walcott, both bright talents and possibly key players or the future.

Do not be surprised if England fields a new goalkeeper in the friendly against Austria. After a series of high profile errors for both club and country, his time as England’s number one may be up for Paul Robinson. Manchester United’s Ben Foster, who spent the last two seasons on loan at Watford, could be called up if he has recovered from his knee ligament injury, otherwise, expect to see either Portsmouth’s David James or Aston Villa’s Scott Carson pulling on the goalkeeper’s jersey.

Upcoming International Football Friendly Fixtures

  • Thursday, November 15, 2007: Hungary v Canada, Ferenc Puskas Stadium.
  • Friday, November 16, 2007: Austria v England, Ernst Happel Stadion.
  • Saturday, November 17, 2007: Australia v Nigeria, South Africa v United States of America, First National Bank Stadium, Uzbekistan v China, Pakhtahor.
  • Tuesday, November 20, 2007: Switzerland v Nigeria, Scotland B v Republic of Ireland B, Excelsior Stadium.
  • Wednesday, November 21, 2007: Austria v Tunisia, Ernst Happel Stadion, South Africa v Canada, First National Bank Stadium, Uzbekistan v Estonia Pakhtahor.
  • Sunday, December 9, 2007: Egypt v Uruguay, Cairo International Stadium.