Centurion Petr Cech / "Arrogant" England / France vs. Spain / Mexico vs. USA / Open Thread

Mike Hewitt

"I've read statements from some English players about the way the pitch will look. As far as I know, the English have always favoured long passes, so who should complain about this? Us, with [Mirko] Vucinic, [Stevan] Jovetic, [Marko] Basa, or England? They're also intimidated by our fans. All these stories are coming from their side. That shows they're more scared of this game than we are." - Branko Brnovic, Montenegro head coach

If you're a fan of the England national team, I suppose this is a big match. Two points behind leaders Montenegro and playing away in Podgorica, it doesn't get much more crucial than this. Add in the comments above from Brnovic and that infamous Wayne Rooney red card ahead of Euro 2012 and you've got a recipe for a tense, heated affair. So probably a dour 0-0 draw. Or maybe 2-2, since Montenegro's got plenty of firepower with extremely lovely Stevan Jovetic and almost equally lovely Mirko Vucinic leading the line.

The other big tie of the day (at least in Europe) is undoubtedly France vs. Spain, which shouldn't need any introduction. But after their shock draw on Friday vs. Finland - their second successive 1-1 draw in World Cup qualifying - Spain suddenly find themselves just second in their group. Should France win today, Spain would face the very real danger of having to play in the home-and-away knockout round of second place teams to still qualify for Brazil 2014.

In the North American qualifying section, it's Mexico vs. USA that's dominating the headlines. Lackluster results for both teams in their first two matches (two draws for Mexico and just three, very snowy points for the USA) have really opened up THE HEX and have placed an even greater premium on tonight.

If none of that floats your boat, there's a full slate of World Cup qualifiers and international friendlies to choose from, including the usual happy-fun-time of Belgium Chelsea South who face Macedonia. Again. We should also mention that a certain utterly respected, revered, and most cared about footballer will also play today, taking on Northern Ireland with the rest of Israeli teammates. I'm talking about Yossi Benayoun of course - sorry, Florent! - on whom rest all of Chelsea's hopes for the next season and beyond towards infinity. Don't fail us now, you magnificent Hobo, you.

On a more serious note, happy 100th to Petr Cech! The Chelsea living legend made his 100th appearance for the Czech Republic earlier today as they defeated Armenia 3-0, making up for a defeat by the same scoreline to Denmark last week and staying in the hunt in Group B (behind rampant Italy).

Discuss.

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