With the club season taking its final pause of 2018, the spotlight for televised soccer turns to international matches this weekend.
Latin America: While many countries have used the post-World Cup period to audition young talent, Brazil has continued to call up the core of the team it took to Russia. That means Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino and Alisson will be in uniform Friday when the Selecao, which has lost just once this year, meets Uruguay in London (BeIN Sports, noon PT). Among those called up for Uruguay are Edison Cavani of Paris Saint-Germain, Luis Suarez of Barcelona and Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro. Mexico, still working under interim coach Ricardo Ferretti, plays the first of back-to-back games on Friday in Argentina (UDN, Unimas, 4 p.m. PT). El Tri will be without Hirving Lozano, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and LAFC’s Carlos Vela, among others, while Argentina is missing Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria, replaced by a team featuring just four players with more than 20 caps.
Europe: Croatia ended England’s World Cup dream with an extra-time victory in the tournament semifinals in Moscow. The teams have met once since then, playing to a scoreless draw in a UEFA Nations League match last month in Croatia. They’ll play a rematch in another Nations League game Sunday at Wembley. (ESPNews, UDN, espn3, 6 a.m. PT). Croatia’s roster includes Luka Modric, the new world player of the year.