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Friday Internationals Open Thread

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Christof Koepsel

There are plenty of matches on today and plenty of these matches feature plenty of Chelsea players. Alas, none of them are involved in any of the matches that actually matter: the four European playoff first legs. It should matter not as at least half of those should be compelling enough on their own.

First up, kicking off an excellently-timed 45 minutes earlier than the rest, it's Iceland vs. Croatia (2pm EST; ESPN3). I remember when Croatia were the red-white checkered darlings of France '98 - the six-goal wonder Davor Suker leading the line - making it all the way to the semifinals where they ran into prolific Lilian Thuram's brace (his only two international goals in 142 caps!) then besting Guuuuuuuuus Hiddink and the Netherlands for third spot. But there's no question here, I'm all about Iceland - who would become the smallest nation ever to make it to the World Cup - and their collection of non-Aron Jóhannssons. COME ON YOU EIDURS! That's right, Eidur. We're going to have harsh words if I find you rooting against Eidur.

The main event is of course Portugal vs. Sweden (2:45pm EST; 19:45 GMT - ESPN3; Sky Sports 1). Cristiano vs. ZLATAN: STAR WARS.

The two other matches are Ukraine vs. France (meh) and Greece vs. Romania (double meh). And of course the whole boatload of friendlies, with England playing at 3pm EST (also Scotland vs. USA) and Italy vs. Germany going down at 2:15pm EST. But is anyone really going to be watching those over the playoffs?

Discuss.