Last chance to impress for World Cup hopefuls

  • ​21 games involving Russia 2018 teams taking place on 26 or 27 March

  • There are 11 direct head-to-head clashes

  • We take a look at some of the key matches

After an intriguing round of friendly matches from 22-24 March in which records were set and some players staked their claim for a spot on the plane to Russia, a final glut of games will represent a final chance for some to impress their national coaches ahead of the FIFA World Cup™.

Games across four continents will see all 32 World Cup-bound sides in action, with most playing for the final time before announcing their squads for the global showpiece. is here to take you through this crucial round of friendly fixtures.

The all-Russia 2018 clashes (all games 27 March unless otherwise stated) Russia (Group A) v France (Group C) - Saint Petersburg Switzerland (E) v Panama (G) - Lucerne Tunisia (G) v Costa Rica (E) - Nice, France Belgium (G) v Saudi Arabia (A) - Brussels Germany (F) v Brazil (E) - Berlin Poland (H) v Korea Republic (F) - Chorzow Colombia (H) v Australia (C) - London, England Nigeria (D) v Serbia (E) - London, England Spain (B) v Argentina (D) - Madrid Peru (C) v Iceland (D) - New Jersey, USA Mexico (F) v Croatia (D) - Texas, USA

Don't miss... A re-match of the Mineirazo. Brazil face Germany in Berlin with the most recent meeting between the pair - the 7-1 semi-final rout at Brazil 2014 - undoubtedly one of the most famous matches in World Cup history. As in Belo Horizonte, A Seleção are shorn of their star player Neymar through injury, but Tite's side are markedly different from their 2014 counterparts. Last time out on Friday, Germany drew 1-1 with Spain in Dusseldorf, with Brazil defeating 2018 hosts Russia 3-0.

Lionel Messi in Madrid. The Argentinian ace faces the nation in which he has lived and forged his career. In an interesting organisational quirk, the Barcelona man warmed up for the match with his Albiceleste team-mates at Real Madrid's training facility. On Friday, Argentina saw off Italy 2-0 in Manchester, with Messi among the substitutes.

Russia hosting another former World Cup champion. 1998 winners France head to Saint Petersburg, just a few days after five-time champions Brazil defeated the 2018 hosts at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. It is the first time the sides have met in Russia since October 1998, a game which France - captained by current coach Didier Deschamps - were 3-2 victors over the hosts, for whom current coach Stanislav Cherchesov was an unused substitute.

Did you know? 2 games unbeaten for Russia in the Saint Petersburg Stadium since it was re-opened. They beat New Zealand 2-0 in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup opener, and drew 3-3 with Spain in November 2017.

6 wins for Argentina against Spain make them one of only six nations to have a positive head-to-head record against La Roja. Their overall record is six victories, two draws and five defeats. The other five countries are England (+3), Brazil (+3), Germany (+2), Netherlands (+1) and East Germany (+1).

14 victories against reigning world champions is the impressive record Brazil hold. Their most recent victory against a World Cup holder came in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup final, as they swept aside Spain 3-0 in the Maracana.

Other Russia 2018 teams in action Wales v Uruguay (A) - Nanning, China PR [26 March] Portugal (B) v Netherlands - Geneva, Switzerland [26 March] Japan (H) v Ukraine - Liege, Belgium IR Iran (B) v Algeria - Graz, Austria Senegal (H) v Bosnia and Herzegovina - Le Havre, France Greece v Egypt (A) - Zurich, Switzerland Denmark (C) v Chile - Aalborg Romania v Sweden (F) - Craiova Morocco (B) v Uzbekistan - Casablanca England (G) v Italy - London

Don't miss... Two former world champions clash at Wembley. England host Italy with the Azzurri hoping to continue their rebuilding phase after the four-time World Cup winners' failure to qualify for Russia 2018. 1966 champions England are entering the final stage of their preparations for this year's finals with, according to coach Gareth Southgate: "some places in the squad up for grabs, but not many". On Friday, the Three Lions defeated the Netherlands 1-0 thanks to Jesse Lingard's first international goal.

Cristiano Ronaldo chasing down Ferenc Puskas and Ali Daei. The Portuguese forward's two injury-time strikes against Egypt on Friday saw him up to 81 international goals, meaning he only trails the legendary Puskas (84 goals) and Daei (109) in the list of all-time scorers for men's national sides. Can he catch the Hungarian against the Dutch?

Mo Salah looking to make it four in a row. The Liverpool star has scored in each of his last three games for Egypt - last time out against Portugal, and in World Cup qualifiers against Congo (two goals) and Uganda - and will be hoping to continue his international hot streak against the Greeks.

Did you know? 4 red cards and 16 yellow cards was the record set when Portugal faced the Netherlands in the Round of 16 'Battle of Nuremberg' at the 2006 World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo is the only player who featured that day likely to play in the pair's friendly clash in Geneva.

12 matches unbeaten is the current run Denmark extended with their 1-0 victory over Panama on Friday. The streak started after a 1-0 defeat to Montenegro in Copenhagen in October 2016 - Age Hareide's only home defeat as Denmark coach.

16 years exactly separate the last meeting between Italy and England on soil with their clash at Wembley on Tuesday. Their match on 27 March 2002 saw current coaches Gareth Southgate and Luigi Di Biagio face each other on the pitch.