Latest news from Italy is that our cupcake-loving boyyyyy and in-form star Giuseppe Rossi will captain a new-look Azzurri side when they take on Romania this evening in Klagenfurt, Austria. And Mario Balotelli should partner him up front. Worth a watch.
Spain takes on Portugal today in their first friendly since 2003. FIFA has apparently criticized their joint World Cup bid for lack of coordination among the two countries so this match is an opportunity to showcase the bid and answer that criticism. However, friendly though it may be, this is the first time the two teams have met since La Furia Roja won 1-0 in the second round of the WC this summer, in which Costa was sent off late in the match for trying to rearrange Joan Capdevila's facial features with his elbow. Capdevila, Marchena and Santi Cazorla are all included in the Spanish squad making the short trip to Lisbon. Valencia's Juan Mata, meanwhile, has withdrawn from the squad and may not be able to play Saturday, which would not disappoint at least one of Villarreal's back line.
Finally, Jefferson Montero is included in the Ecuador squad to host Venezuela in a friendly match today. I must confess I don't know a lot about either team; these two teams met in September with Venezuela winning 1-0. Hopefully Jeffrey will get the start this time and score a goal for his country!
UPDATE from maddi: You probably do not recognize the author of this post - Allen. Although you may not recognize him, you do know him. Allen is Capercat, and we are happy to welcome him on board as a contributor to the site. We all know him from his excellent comments and match analyses, and now the site will benefit from them in an even more direct way, as a contributor. Keep a lookout for his work - it will definitely be a step up from the drivel that I manage to eek out!
Allen - great to have you on board, and ENDAVANT VILLARREAL!