Weekly football conversation since 2009, with Graham Sibley, Jan Bilton and Terry Duffelen. Listen on Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or your podcatcher of choice.

Weekend Boxset: International break special

It’s the October international break - which means we have a very mixed bag to offer you: A-League, women’s football, League One it’s all here among the Euro qualifiers.

Seven great matches (and one that’s already happened) to take you from Friday to Sunday. It’s the Sound of Football Weekend Boxset.

All times are UK


We love having Gary Andrews on the Boxset and with the new season of A-League kicking off, what a great time to get him back on. However, he’s still relatively new to life in Australia and timezones obviously confuse him. So here he previews a big game that’s already happened:

A-League: Adelaide United v Sydney
09.30 on BT Sport 1
And so, a mere two and a half months after the rest of the world, the A League kicks off. There might be more than a few issues behind the scenes (declining ratings and crowds, a pulled marketing campaign) but this should be a corker of a game to start with, as defending champions Sydney FC kick off against a rejuvenated Adelaide United. New coach Gertjan Verbeek has recruited smartly with Riley McGree and perennial thorn in Sydney’s side, James Troisi, adding firepower to the Reds’ attack. All the signs from Adelaide’s FFA Cup run is Verbeek’s men have goals in them and a slightly wobbly defence. With Sydney missing goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne and energetic fullback Rhyan Grant due to international call ups, this game suggests plenty of goals to kick off the season. GA

The match finished 2-3.

UEFA Euro 2020 Qualification Group A: Czechia v England
19.45 on ITV
If you’re tuning in for this one expecting a procession of white and red as England guarantee their place at Euro 2020, you might like to think again. Yes, the Three Lions thrashed today’s hosts 5-0 in their last encounter, but the Czechs have won six out of their last eight home qualifiers, so before the corks start popping on the English sparkling wine, there is still work to be done. They also have Kosovo breathing down their necks, so will seek to close down England and get a result. England’s form to date does point to a victory, but aside from a very impressive Kosovo side, they haven’t really been tested, so the table flatters them somewhat. What I am genuinely excited about is the debuts that will be handed to Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori who have flourished under Frank Lampard. England will miss Fabian Delph’s drive and are also without the supreme talents of James Maddsion. Not that I think that will matter. England will win this one, but they should expect more of a test than some are suggesting. JB


A-League: Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City
07.15 on BT Sport 1
Is it too cynical to suggest the powers that be at the A League have scheduled a high profile derby in a primetime slot during the opening weekend? Either way, this is probably one of the most intriguing fixtures of the round. The perennially angry Kevin Muscat and unpopular Warren Joyce have left Victory and City respectively. In their place come former Adelaide boss Marco Kurtz and ex-France youth coach Erick Mombaerts. Both coaches have a different mentality to their predecessors and while Victory have a stronger squad on paper, City have already reached the FFA Cup final on Mombaerts’ watch. A tough match to call, expect a bit of spice as both sides look to lay down a marker for the new season. GA

UEFA Euro 2020 Qualification Group D: Georgia v Republic of Ireland
14.00 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event
After a dismal Nations League, the Irish fans would hardly have been laying out the ticker tape for the returning Mick McCarthy last November. Having been waved off by an ungrateful and misguided Ipswich Town the Gruff Yorkshireman was hardly the most inspiring coaching appointment. And when his first game resulted in the narrowest of wins against Gibraltar they must have feared the worst. However, with three games left, the Republic find themselves top of Group D above more illustrious contenders Switzerland and Denmark. That said, they still have to play both of those teams in the final two rounds so three points in Tbilisi is an absolute must. Unlike their hosts, Ireland don’t have the backstop of a Nations League earned playoff. Georgia have yet to qualify for any major international tournament since leaving the USSR in 1990 and are out of the equation in this group. That said they most recently drew 2-2 in a friendly with South Korea and managed a no-score draw with Denmark. Not enough to help them but they could be a potential banana skin for the Irish as Vladimír Weiss’ prepares his team for their playoff. TD

UEFA Euro 2020 Qualification Group D: Denmark v Switzerland
17.00 on Sky Sports Football
Whatever happens in the Ireland match this is a crunch tie for the other contenders in Group D. Both sides have the safety net of a Nations League play-off but would much prefer not to have to use it. Both go into this undefeated and seeing how results have gone in this group, they will probably still be unbeaten afterwards. GS


League 1: Coventry City v Tranmere Rovers
12.00 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event
Not being on the list to officiate at Euro qualifiers, you might see Premier League referee Mike Dean getting over-excited in the away end here on a rare weekend off. Tranmere are still finding their feet in back League One and have only one point to show from their five trips away from Prenton Park. After a solid start to their season Coventry suffered their first defeat away to mid-table Rotherham; the Sky Blues suffering two penalties and straight red card on their way to losing 4-0. A refereeing display Mr Dean would consider a good day’s work. GS

FA Women’s Super League: Chelsea v Arsenal
15.00 on BT Sport 1
As you might be aware, the Saturday of the October International break has been known for the last decade or so as Non-League Day - an opportunity for supporters of big clubs to go and check out more humble surroundings at local semi-pro or amateur sides. In keeping with that spirit, there’s a growing movement to see next month’s International break to be known as Women’s Weekend. Why not get in the mood for it with a cracking fixture between two of the strongest sides in the WSL. If you come to the game from watching England’s Women in the summer, both sides are brimming with Lionesses: Beth Mead, Leah Williamson and Jordan Nobbs for Arsenal; Millie Bright and Fran Kirby for Chelsea. GS

UEFA Euro 2020 Qualification Group E: Wales v Croatia
19.45 on S4C/Sky Sports Football & Main Event
Last chance saloon for Ryan Gigg’s side to be part of the big party next summer. While fourth in their group after Thursday’s draw in Slovakia, the darlings of Euro 2016 still have every chance of going through IF they win their last three games. This is the toughest match they have left and Croatia have already stumbled away from home in this group, losing in Hungary (who are also still in the hunt) and only coming back from Azerbaijan with a point. A win for the Welsh keeps Croatia’s final match against second placed Slovakia with both sides needing to get something out of it. If this looks like going one way you can always switch on the Red Button for coverage of Group G, which is wonderfully poised. GS

Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.

Terry, Graham, Jan and Gary Andrews (@gafootbl)

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