No-one knows European and International football better than our very own Paul Watson as he's proven on many occasions. He tells us all we need to know about this evening's minefield of International Friendly matches.

Iran v Russia

A political history older than Davie Weir's first boots always gives games between Arab nations and those behind the old Iron Curtain a certain spark.

On paper, Russia have a far stronger side but the Iranians are no mugs. Star man for them will be Gholamreza Rezaei, top scorer in the current squad. However, if the Russians are up for this Dubai friendly at all then they'll ease out a win.

Greece v Canada

Considering “soccer” still isn't as popular as their made-up version of American Football, it's no wonder the Canadian national side have struggled to make any sort of impact on the world stage. While FC Toronto have a fanatical support in the MLS, the men's team is akin to the Cool Runnings Jamaican bobsled team.

They've produced a player or two (see the likes of Celtic trialist Dwayne De Rosario, Tomasz Radzinski, Paul Stalteri and Julien De Guzman) but until there's a marked changed in attitude and interest in the game, the Canucks will continue to struggle, even in a region with some of the world's poorest sides.

This should be a straightforward win for Greece. We'll even throw another Celtic star a bone and bet on Georgios Samaras to score (first is 11-2, bet365).

Croatia v Czech Rep

I've not been impressed by the Czech Republic. Most of the time they look like a side there for the taking and, disappointingly, it was Lithuania who seized the opportunity rather than a limp Scotland. They face a very attack-minded Croatia who boast the likes of Luka Modric, Niko Kranjcar, Eduardo and Rangers' Nikica Jelavic.

If they play at the sort of pace we're normally accustomed to seeing, then Slaven Bilic's men should make light work of the Czechs.

Israel v Serbia

I'm convinced that with the right coach Serbia can be a strong force in European football.

They've got the right sort of mindset – quite British in their approach – and a host of young, exciting, talent coming through at some of Europe's bigger clubs.

Their brightest star is Adem Ljajic of Fiorentina who has attracted the interest of teams across the continent. Skipper Milos Krasic is another plying his trade in Serie A, with Juventus, and he runs a midfield that's bursting with creativity. Miralem Sulejmani is yet to find the net for Serbia in seven games but the Ajax striker has been great for his club.

He'll shoulder more responsibility now that Luis Suarez is at Liverpool and it wouldn't surprise me if he moves on in the summer.
Israel might be toppled in terms of physicality, although the absence of on-form Birmingham beast Nikola Zigic will be a huge relief to them.

Turkey v South Korea

Fresh from their semi-final agony in the Asian Cup, you have to imagine fatigue will play a big part for Korea here. No one wants to face the kind of travelling they've endured and I'm not sure their hearts will really be in it.

Turkey will have the firm hand of Guus Hiddink guiding them and I think the noisy atmosphere in Trabzon and freshness should see them through.

Belgium v Finland

Neither country have started qualification for Euro 2012 well and they'll see the friendly in Ghent as a great chance to restore confidence. I think the Belgians have more firepower with Romelu Lukaku, Edin Hazard and Moussa Dembele. I'll take them to win.

  • Recommendation: Belgium (8-11, Blue Square, 888sport)

Holland v Austria

The Dutch will be without Robin van Persie, Rafel van der Vaart and Nigel de Jong for the clash but with the abundance of talent they've got at their fingerprints it won't make any difference.

Holland usually adopt a ruthless mentality for friendlies and it's often they run away with three or four goal wins as Total Football comes into action.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has scored at least once in each of the last five games for the Oranje, so take him to find the net again here (7-2, bet365 to score first) in a comfortable victory.

Germany v Italy

Among the friendlies tonight there are a few “World Cup moments”, not least the 2006 semi-final between Die Mannschaft and the Azzurri.

An absolute belter of a game, cloaked in atmosphere and incident, was eventually won by the Italians thanks to late goals from Fabio Grosso and Alessandro Del Piero.

It's been all change since that night with Germany's fledgling stars planting the seeds that made them stand out even brighter four years later while Italy's old legs finally gave out.

Only Gianluigi Buffon remains from that squad but the clean sweep was exactly what Cesare Prandelli needed to do.

Germany are probably the second best side on the planet at the moment and they're only going to get better. They outperformed and outmaneuvered everyone at South Africa 2010 until they met eventual winners Spain.

The problem here is the higher the profile a game gets, the more difficult it can be to draw a winner. I'd take Germany based on past displays and their ease of consistency but Italy have something to prove and Giampaolo Pazzini scares defenders (and me) in the same way Del Piero did.

  • Recommendation: Germany (10-11, Stan James, totesport)

Argentina v Portugal

This is more about Lionel Messi v Cristiano Ronaldo. They've actually decided to let the other 20 players have a day off and left these two to it.
Expect 90 minutes of them jumping through hoops of fire, crossbar challenges and walking on water before they take to the stand and dribble around supporters.

In truth, this might not be as exciting as first hoped. Moved from the Emirates to Geneva because of a bizarre ruling that means foreign teams can't compete in England on a night when the Three Lions are away (I'm guessing they're terrified the paying public might find out what real football is supposed to look like) Argentina have dropped another of big names.

Carlos Tevez is the most notable absentee while Gonzalo Higuian (injury) Gabriel Heinze and Martin Demichelis miss out. There's little to split between the sides – even if Portugal hammered world champions Spain 4-0 in their last friendly – but my gut feeling is Messi will score (1-1, Skybet, Stan James) and Argentina will sneak it.

Another good bet could be in-form Liverpool star Raul Meireles finding the net (11-2, Skybet, William Hill to open the scoring).

France v Brazil

A dodgy knee injection? Nike's overbearing sponsorship? A severe bout of depression? A seizure the night before? What really happened to Ronaldo on July 12, 1998?

The Brazilian superstar had been riding high throughout the tournament but looked a shell of himself at the Stade de France that evening as France clinched the World Cup on home soil.

For many Brazilians it's a night of continued disbelief and regret, one they'd love to forget just as much as they desperately need to remember.
Thirteen years later, Brazil return to the scene to face Les Bleus in a friendly and it's youth which takes paramount.

Brazil are still continuing preparations for this summer's Copa America in Argentina and the Olympics in 2012 – their only competitive matches before they host the next World Cup.

There are some surprise inclusions for Mario Menezes' samba stars in Bayer Leverkusen’s Renato Augusto, Shakhtar Donetsk’s Jadson and Dynamo Kiev forward Andre.

No Brazilian-based players have been selected for the trip with the Copa Libertadores on-going with other absentees including Kaka, Lucio, Maicon, Ronaldinho, Ganso, Nilmar and Fabiano!

It's an extremely weakened line-up but, as always, what's there is still technically superior to most countries. France are a completely different side, both in look and mentality, under Laurent Blanc whose side saw off England 2-1 in November.

I can't see anything between the sides so I'm going for the draw.

  • Recommendation: France v Brazil draw (9-4, bet365, Chandler)

Spain v Colombia

Spain have lost eight goals in their last two friendlies and scored once. No, really, those stats are the right way round.

Since becoming crowned not only champions of Europe but of the world last summer, Vicente del Bosque's side have eased off a little. Who could blame them?

The only absentees for tonight's game at the Bernabau are Cesc Fabregas and Carles Puyol but it's at the back they've looked suspicious – shipping two goals to Scotland in Euro 2012 in a game they almost lost, a considerable low point.

Colombia will call upon the goalscoring talents of the brilliant Radamel Falcao of Porto who has scored 20 goals in 25 games for the league leaders. He might be a good shout for one tonight.

Other picks:

  • MOROCCO to beat Niger
  • SWITZERLAND to beat Malta
  • SLOVAKIA to beat Luxembourg
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