England vs. Ireland / USA vs. Belgium / Wednesday Open Thread

I bet it was a dirty joke. - Laurence Griffiths

A mild midweek serving of off-season international friendly action.

As I'm sure you've heard, Ashley Cole is wearing the arm band for England today. At least technically he is. Or practically. Or something. Frank Lampard factors in somewhere still, mostly by giving the media the same boring, canned phrased learned by rote that England captains are expected to give. It's the modern day footballing equivalent ofMuch Ado About Nothing.

Meanwhile, they will presumably actually play a game, too, a rather random friendly - one of three coming up this summer - versus Ireland, a country that has not won on English soil in almost two decades. Gee, I wonder what the outcome will be today. Kick-off is at the top of the hour at 20:00 local time, 3 P.M. EDT (Fox Soccer).

England starting lineup (4-2-3-1):
Joe Hart | Ashley Cole, Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill, Glen Johnson | Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick | Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott | Daniel Sturridge

Thirty minutes before - i.e. right now! - Germany's friendly versus Ecuador kicks off. It's mostly a Germany B team, but Schalke's 19-year-old super-talent Julian Draxler does start, so it may be worth a gander. This one's on ESPN2/ESPN3 in the USA.

Germany starting lineup (4-2-3-1):
Rene Adler | Marcell Jansen, Heiko Westermann, Per Mertesacker, Benedikt Howedes | Lars Bender, Roman Neustadter | Lukas Podolski, Julian Draxler, Sidney Sam | Max Kruse

Chelsea target Andre Schurrle is on the bench.

Later on, we'll have USA vs. Belgium as well.

Discuss.

N.B.: Lewis Baker scored a penalty for England U19 (his second goal in as many matches), but the team failed to qualify for this summer's European U19 Championship thanks to Georgia's win over Belgium.

UPDATE:

Belgium starting lineup (4-3-3):
Simon Mignolet | Jan Vertonghen, Thomas Vermaelen, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld | Moussa Dembele, Marouane Fellaini, Steven Defour | Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas

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