Czech Republic vs Lithuania soccer
Czech Republic vs Lithuania live coverage of the first FIFA International Match Week in 2017 will begin Wednesday, March 22, with back-to-back international friendly matches – Czech Republic vs. Lithuania at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN3, and Scotland vs. Canada at 3:45 p.m. on ESPN Deportes and ESPN3. In all, ESPN networks will carry 26 matches live during the week, including FIFA World Cup qualifying matches in Europe and Asia.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) World Cup qualification matches are exclusive to ESPN3, the streaming network accessible via WatchESPN and the ESPN App.This is not technically the first match of Canada’s Octavio Zambrano era. The newly-appointed head coach of the Canada Men’s National Team won’t formally lead the team from the sidelines until June, but this is the first game the side will play since his appointment.
It’s a friendly Canada is expected to lose and which will quickly be forgotten by both sides involved (well, Scotland might find it hard to shrug off the memory of losing at home to Canada) as they each have more important games to play later in the year.
Canada has named a mostly Europe-based 18-man roster for the game, with just six players drawn from clubs in North America. The team can expect to face a well-motivated Scotland side – next up for the Scots is a home World Cup qualifier against Slovenia from which three points would go a long way toward reviving fading Scottish hopes of making it to Russia 2018.
Beating Canada in Edinburgh on March 22 would send Scotland to Glasgow on March 26 with some confidence. A loss would be catastrophic, if anyone notices. The Daily Record is predicting the worst-attended Scotland home game since 1902 – taken both as confirmation that Canada is not a glamorous opponent and that the Scottish public is not enthralled by its national team at present.
For Canada, there is nothing to lose from this game. Zambrano will be in attendance, so players will hope to impress the new coach and win selection to the summer’s Gold Cup squad, perhaps. But this game is not so much the beginning of the new era as the end of the interval between Benito Floro’s dismissal and the appointment of his successor.
For New York Red Bulls fans, perhaps a Wednesday afternoon during the FIFA international window is a convenient time to cast an eye on the team former MetroStars manager Zambrano will be leading at the 2017 Gold Cup. And maybe witness an historic low point in Scottish interest in its men’s national football team.