March 2023 international break: who plays who, dates, competitions, Mexico national team, USMNT…
Qualification for UEFA Euro 2024 gets underway, while the 2022-23 CONCACAF Nations League group stage reaches its conclusion.
Just as things are getting interesting on the club scene with league title races hotting up and the UEFA Champions League entering its final stages, it’s time to stop all that for an international break, with the official window between Monday 20 March and Tuesday 28 March. It’s been more than three months since the Qatar 2022 World Cup ended with Lionel Messi holding the trophy aloft, so you’d be forgiven for being a little bit lost with what’s going on internationally.
Here’s a summary of what’s coming up across the different confederations over the next week or two, and we’ve picked out selected games that might catch your eye (several of which we’ll be covering live here on AS USA).
CONCACAF: North America, Central America and the Carribbean
The 2022-23 CONCACAF Nations League continues with the final two matchdays of the group stage. Mexico and the USMNT are both in three-team groups in League A (supposedly the strongest counrtries in CONCACAF) and are in an identical position going into matchdays five and six. Both nations are in second place, a point off top spot, having played one game fewer than the group leaders, who they will both face at home in the final group match. Costa Rica, meanwhile, are also in second spot as things stand and realistically must win their last two games to have a chance of overhauling Panama.
The winners of the group will progress to the Nations League Final Four, to be played in June, while the top two will qualify for the 2023 Gold Cup, which will take place in June and July this year.
Mexico, League A, Group A
23 March: Suriname vs Mexico
26 March: Mexico vs Jamaica
Costa Rica, League A, Group B
25 March: Martinique vs Costa Rica
28 March: Costa Rica vs Panama
USA, League A, Group D
24 March: Grenada vs USMNT
27 March: USMNT vs El Salvador
CONMEBOL: South America
No competitive fixtures have been scheduled in South America, with qualification for the 2026 World Cup, which will of course be held in the United States, Mexico and Canada, not starting until September. Many CONMBEOL nations have instead opted to schedule friendly matches, including Argentina, who will play their first games on home soil as World Cup winners.
23 March: Argentina vs Panama
28 March: Argentina vs Curaçao
25 March: Morocco vs Brazil
24 March: South Korea vs Colombia
28 March: Japan vs Colombia (2023 Kirin Cup Challenge)
24 March: Australia vs Ecuador
28 March: Australia vs Ecuador
25 March: Germany vs Peru
28 March: Morocco vs Peru (in Madrid)
24 March: Japan vs Uruguay
28 March: South Korea vs Uruguay
24 March: Saudi Arabia vs Venezuela
28 March: Uzbekistan vs Venezuela
Chile are also taking on Paraguay on 28 March.
Qualification gets underway for the 2024 European Championships, which will take place in Germany between 14 June and 14 July 2024. The 53 UEFA member nations will battle it out for 24 spots at the final tournament and have been drawn into 10 qualifying groups of five or six teams, who play each other home and away. The two top teams in each group (20 in total) will join the hosts in the tournament, with the final three spots decided by playoffs which will be held in March 2024. Performances in the UEFA Nations League will determine the which nations take part in the playoffs.
Spain, Euro 2024 qualification Group A
25 March: Spain vs Norway
28 March: Scotland vs Spain
France, Euro 2024 qualification Group B
24 March: France vs Netherlands
27 March: Republic of Ireland vs France
Italy, Euro 2024 qualification Group C
23 March: Italy vs England
26 March: Malta vs Italy
England, Euro 2024 qualification Group C
23 March: Italy vs England
26 March: England vs Ukraine
Portugal, Euro 2024 qualification Group J
23 March: Portugal vs Liechtenstein
26 March: Luxembourg vs Portugal
Euro 2024 hosts Germany aren’t involved in qualification and will instead play friendly games at home to Peru (25 March) and Belgium (28 March).
Qualification for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, which will be held in Ivory Coast in January and February 2024 continues with matchdays three and four of the group stage between Monday 20 March and Tuesday 28 March. Most teams have played two of their six qualification games, the last of which will be played in September. The most fancied contenders, including Senegal, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria, already look to be in good positions to join the hosts at the final tournament.
There are no competitive games scheduled in Asia, with a host of nations opting to arrange friendly matches. That includes, the likes of Japan, South Korea and Australia, who will all be taking on South America, as listed above.
No competitive fixtures have been scheduled in the smallest of the world’s soccer confederations either. New Zealand, by far and away the biggest OFC nation, has set up back-to-back home friendlies against China on 22 and 25 March.