The road to next year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil continues as the latest set of crucial qualifying matches take place over a busy period of international football from March 22-26.
England’s two away qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro will be shown exclusively live on ITV, while the highly anticipated home nations clash between Scotland and Wales at Hampden Park is live on Sky Sports.
Also in action are five-time world champions and next year’s hosts Brazil, with ITV4 screening live coverage of their two friendly internationals against Italy in Geneva and Russia at Stamford Bridge.
In addition, UK users can watch a variety of European qualifying matches for FREE via the Qualifiers 2014 YouTube channel:
Full details of how to follow all the action on Matchdays 5 & 6 below:
Fri 22 – v SAN MARINO (Serravalle) – 20:00 – ITV Tue 26 – v MONTENEGRO (Podgorica) – 20:00 – ITV
ITV has live coverage of both England’s away qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.
First up for Roy Hodgson’s side on Friday are the perennial minnows of major tournament qualifiers.
One of the smallest nations in the world, San Marino have never won a competitive international and were beaten 5-0 by England at Wembley last October.
However the last time England played away to San Marino they conceded the fastest goal in World Cup history.
Davide Gualtieri put San Marino ahead after 8.3 seconds, though England recovered and went on to win 7-1.
Steven Gerrard and co will be hoping they avoid any such shocks on the night at the Serravalle Stadium.
Then on Tuesday, England face a tough test to their qualifying aspirations as they travel to Podgorica to play Montenegro.
It’s a crucial night for Roy Hodgson and his team on the road to the 2014 World Cup Finals with the home side on top of their qualifying group entering this latest round of fixtures.
Montenegro are vying with England for top spot in the group and automatic qualification for Brazil.
Adrian Chiles introduces ITV’s live coverage of both games, with build-up starting at 7.30pm ahead of 8pm kick-offs on both nights.
Roy Keane, Lee Dixon and Gareth Southgate are the studio guests who will analyse the action, while match commentary comes from Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend.
Highlights of both games follows on ITV after the news, presented by Matt Smith.
Fri 22 – v WALES (Hampden Park) – 19:45 – Sky Sports 2 Tue 26 – v SERBIA (Belgrade) – 19:45 – BBC One Scotland / ESPN
Gordon Strachan takes charge of Scotland in competitive internationals for the first time when his side welcome Wales to Hampden Park on Friday night (live on Sky), then travel to Serbia on Tuesday evening (live on BBC One Scotland/ESPN).
With Scotland languishing at the foot of the Group A table with only two points from four games, Strachan will be hoping to build on last month’s friendly victory over Estonia at Pittodrie, when Charlie Mulgrew’s first half strike was the difference between the teams.
Wales travel to Hampden having secured their only points of the campaign against Scotland in the reverse fixture last October.
Two goals in the last nine minutes from Gareth Bale cancelled out James Morrison’s 27th minute opener.
The 2014 World Cup Finals in Brazil are looking beyond the reach of both sides, but each will be looking for significant improvement before qualification ends in October.
Sky Sports will screen live coverage of Scotland v Wales from Hampden Park, presented by David Tanner and commentary from Ian Crocker and Davie Provan.
BBC One Scotland will screen terrestrial highlights of the game at 10.35pm, introduced by Rob Maclean with analysis from Pat Nevin and Craig Gordon. Commentary by Liam McLeod and Billy Dodds.
Then on Tuesday, Scotland travel to Belgrade to play Serbia, a match which will broadcast live on both BBC One Scotland and ESPN.
Fri 22 – v SCOTLAND (Hampden Park) – 19:45 – Sky Sports 2 Tue 26 – v CROATIA (Liberty Stadium) – 19:00 – Sky Sports 1
Despite their famous win over Scotland in Cardiff last October, Wales have only faint hopes of qualification for next summer’s World Cup.
The Scots came into the game looking to secure their first victory in Cardiff since 1983, but it wasn’t to be.
West Bromwich Albion midfielder James Morrison put them ahead before a late double salvo from Gareth Bale saw them leave the Welsh capital with nothing.
That result saw Wales leapfrog Scotland in Group A and remains the highlight of an otherwise disappointing campaign.
In fact, neither side harbours much hope of qualifying for Brazil, making Friday night’s return fixture all the more significant.
The visitors would no doubt love to do the double over their rival home nation, while Strachan will be desperate to secure Scotland’s first three points and restore some pride.
On Tuesday, Chris Coleman’s side take on second-place Croatia at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium.
Despite a fantastic performance from Gareth Bale, Wales’ World Cup dreams took a major blow last October when Croatia beat them 2-0 in Osijek.
Just one point ahead of bottom place Scotland and seven points adrift of the playoffs before the preceeding clash with Scotland on Friday, Wales’ hopes of a trip to Brazil have faded, but can they salvage some pride against Croatia?
Both games will be broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports HD.
Free-to-air highlights of Wales’ home clash against Croatia on Tuesday night will be shown on BBC Two Wales, presented by Jason Mohammad.
Sat 23 – v RUSSIA (Windsor Park) – Postponed – Sky Sports 2 Tue 26 – v ISRAEL (Windsor Park) – 19:45 – Sky Sports 3
Northern Ireland currently lie in fourth place going into March fixtures against Group F leaders Russia and Israel, with Michael O’Neill still searching for his first win as manager.
With only a slim chance of qualification, the boys in green will be looking for two important home wins to keep both fans and manager happy.
First up will be Fabio Capello’s Russia side, who are five points clear of their nearest rivals and will be strong favourites against a team they brushed aside on the opening matchday.
Northern Ireland have gone unbeaten since then, though, and will be intent on putting on a good show in front of their home fans.
So far the Green and White Army’s qualifying campaign has been a story of draws.
After a disappointing 1-1 tie with Luxembourg, they were just 11 minutes away from a win against Portugal when Hélder Postiga scrambled a scrappy equaliser.
A month later, a last-gasp goal from record scorer David Healy against Azerbaijan gave them their third consecutive draw.
They demonstrated remarkable defensive steel to deny Portugal all three points when the teams played out a 1-1 draw in Porto.
But their hopes of getting to Brazil already hang in the balance after a shaky start to the campaign. Can they rise to the challenge at Windsor Park?
Meanwhile on Tuesday, another tall task lies ahead of Northern Ireland as they take on Israel at Windsor Park.
Sky Sports will have both Northern Ireland games exclusively live with coverage presented by Graham Little and commentary from Mark Robson.
Free-to-air highlights of the two games will be shown on BBC One Northern Ireland, introduced by Stephen Watson.
He will be joined by Jim Magilton for analysis on the Russia match, while Iain Dowie takes over the role for the Israel game. Commentary on both matches comes from Jackie Fullerton.
Fri 22 – v SWEDEN (Stockholm) – 19:45 – LIVESPORT.TV Tue 26 – v AUSTRIA (Aviva Stadium) – 19:45 – Sky Sports 2
Currently in third place ahead of fixtures against Sweden and Austria, the Republic of Ireland will be desperate to close in on the second-placed Swedes who cling onto a one-point lead over them in Group C.
The Republic’s away match against Sweden on Friday night will not be shown on UK television.
It will be broadcast online via pay-per-view service LIVESPORT.TV – CLICK HERE for further details.
On Tuesday, Republic of Ireland play Austria for the first time in their history when the teams meet at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, live on Sky Sports.
In October, Giovanni Trapattoni’s side bounced back from a crushing 6-1 defeat to Germany to rekindle their hopes of qualification with a 4-1 win against the Faroe Islands.
Thu 21 – v ROMANIA (Adams Park) – 19:00 – ESPN Mon 25 – v AUSTRIA (AMEX Stadium) – 19:45 – ESPN
With the 2013 European U21 Championships on the horizon this summer, Stuart Pearce’s Young Lions will look to make their mark with two friendly clashes against Romania and Austria, both exclusively live on ESPN.
England play Romania at Wycombe’s Adams Park on Thursday evening, then in their final game on home soil before they fly out to Israel for the Euro 2013 Finals in June, England’s young guns face their Austrian counterparts in Brighton.
Thursday 21st March England U21 v Romania U21 – U21 International Friendly Kick-off: 19:00 | LIVE: 6.30pm-9.15pm – ESPN Italy v Brazil – International Friendly Kick-off: 19:30 | LIVE: 7.10pm-9.30pm – ITV4 Friday 22nd March San Marino v England – Group H Kick-off: 20:00 | LIVE: 7.30pm-10.10pm – ITV Scotland v Wales – Group A Kick-off: 20:00 | LIVE: 7.30pm-10.15pm – Sky Sports 2 Sweden v Republic of Ireland – Group C Kick-off: 19:45 | LIVE: 7.45pm-9.45pm – LIVESPORT.TV Spain v Finland – Group I Kick-off: 19:45 | LIVE: 7.45pm-9.45pm – ESPN Argentina v Venezuela – World Cup Qualifier (CONMEBOL) Kick-off: 00:00 (Sat) | LIVE: 11.55pm-2.00am – Premier Sports Match Highlights: San Marino v England 10.45pm-11.50pm – ITV Scotland v Wales 10.35pm-11.25pm – BBC One Scotland Saturday 23rd March Northern Ireland v Russia – Group F Kick-off: 15:00 | LIVE: 2.30pm-5.00pm – Sky Sports Match Highlights: Northern Ireland v Russia 10.15pm-11.00pm – BBC One Northern Ireland Monday 25th March England U21 v Austria U21 – U21 International Friendly Kick-off: 19:45 | LIVE: 7.15pm-10.00pm – ESPN Brazil v Russia – International Friendly Kick-off: 19:30 | LIVE: 7.10pm-9.30pm – ITV4 Tuesday 26th March Montenegro v England – Group H Kick-off: 20:00 | LIVE: 7.30pm-10.10pm – ITV Serbia v Scotland – Group A Kick-off: 19:30 | LIVE: 7.00pm-9.45pm – ESPN Kick-off: 19:30 | LIVE: 7.25pm-9.30pm – BBC One Scotland Wales v Croatia – Group A Kick-off: 19:45 | LIVE: 7.30pm-10.00pm – Sky Sports 1 Republic of Ireland v Austria – Group C Kick-off: 19:45 | LIVE: 7.30pm-10.00pm – Sky Sports 2 Northern Ireland v Israel – Group F Kick-off: 19:45 | LIVE: 7.30pm-10.00pm – Sky Sports 3 Match Highlights: Montenegro v England 10.50pm-11.50pm – ITV Wales v Croatia 11.20pm-12.00am – BBC Two Wales Northern Ireland v Israel 11.15pm-11.55pm – BBC One Northern Ireland . . .
ITV’s live England coverage, as well additional video clips, interviews and analysis, is available to watch for free via the ITV football website – CLICK HERE
BBC One Scotland’s live coverage of Serbia v Scotland will be available to watch online via the BBC Sport website.
Highlights of Scotland v Wales on BBC One Scotland, Wales v Croatia on BBC Two Wales and both BBC One NI shows featuring Northern Ireland’s home internationals will be available to view via BBC iPlayer shortly after broadcast.
A selection of live games that do not have UK rights holders from across Europe will be available to watch for free on YouTube – CLICK HERE
Online streaming available to UK users only