By MICHAEL KLINE
Qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil dominates this weekends soccer action, with a surplus of interesting fixtures on display.
In South America, Falcao and Colombia will look to knock off CONMEBOL leaders Argentina when the sides meet in Buenos Aires tonight. Lionel Messi is considered doubtful for the match, but Argentina should still have enough firepower to severely test a strong Colombia defense.
In Europe, Portugal host Russia in Lisbon on Friday, in one of the day’s marquee match-ups.
Portugal have been on a bit of a slump in recent matches, winning only twice in their last seven, including a 1-0 loss to Russia last October. Cristiano Ronaldo’s lack of production surely has something to do with that, with the Real Madrid striker having scored only once in six qualifying matches in 2012. They remain one point behind their opponent and group leader Russia, who sits on 12 points through six matches.
On Saturday and Sunday the European Under-21 Championship will continue, with several high-profile young international squads facing off.
In the “group of death,” the Netherlands will face Russia while Germany and Spain square off. The Netherlands are the early group leader after defeating Germany in stunning fashion, while Germany and Russia sit tied at the bottom with zero points.
Here is a rundown of This Weekend’s Soccer on TV:
THIS WEEKEND’S SOCCER ON TV
12pm – ESPN3 – Finland vs. Belarus
12pm – ESPN3 – Azerbaijan vs. Luxembourg
12pm – ESPN3 – Armenia vs. Malta
12:30pm – ESPN3 – Latvia vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina
1:45pm – ESPN3 – Lithuania vs. Greece
2pm – ESPN3 – Liechtenstein vs. Slovakia
2:15pm - ESPN3 – Moldova vs. Poland
2:15pm - ESPN3 – Croatia vs. Scotland
2:30pm - ESPN3 – Albania vs. Norway
2:30pm - ESPN3 – Montenegro vs. Ukraine
2:45pm - GolTV – Austria vs. Sweden
2:45pm - ESPN3 – Belgium vs. Serbia
2:45pm – ESPN – Czech Republic vs. Italy
3pm - ESPN3 – Iceland vs. Slovenia
3:45pm - ESPN3 – Portugal vs. Russia
4pm – beIN Sport – Bolivia vs. Venezuela
6:05pm – beIN Sport – Argentina vs. Colombia
8:10pm – beIN Sport en Español – Paraguay vs. Chile
9:30pm – beIN Sport – Jamaica vs. United States
10pm – beIN Sport en Español – Costa Rica vs. Honduras
10pm – Telemundo – Panama vs. Mexico
11:30am - ESPN3 – Switzerland vs. Cyprus
12pm - ESPN3 – England vs. Norway - (European Under-21s)
2:30pm - ESPN3 – Italy vs. Israel - (European Under-21s)
4pm – beIN Sport – Spain vs. Haiti
7:30pm – MLS Direct Kick – New England Revolution vs. DC United
8:30pm – MLS Direct Kick – Chicago Fire vs. Portland Timbers
9:30pm – MLS Direct Kick – Real Salt Lake vs. Los Angeles Galaxy
10:30pm – NBC Sports Network – Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
12pm - ESPN3 – Netherlands vs. Russia (European Under-21s)
2:30pm - ESPN3 – Germany vs. Spain (European Under-21s)
3pm – beIN Sport – Brazil vs. France