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Soccer on TV: Big games around the world in World Cup qualifying this weekend

Here's the top action in Europe, Africa and Concacaf, plus the NWSL playoff semifinals and three huge games in European women's club soccer.

Alphonso Davies (left) and Canada host Costa Rica on Friday night in Edmonton, where temperatures will be in the low 30s and there could be snow flurries falling on a crowd of over 46,000.
Alphonso Davies (left) and Canada host Costa Rica on Friday night in Edmonton, where temperatures will be in the low 30s and there could be snow flurries falling on a crowd of over 46,000.Read moreJason Franson / AP

Italy vs. Switzerland

Friday, 2:45 p.m. (ESPN2, TUDN)

These teams are tied atop their European qualifying group with two games to go. Switzerland held Italy, the reigning European champion to a scoreless draw at home in Basel. Now they meet in Rome, where the Azzurri will be looking for a win to take hold of first place.

Honduras vs. Panama

Friday, 8 p.m. (Universo, Paramount+)

As the final round of Concacaf World Cup qualifying hits the halfway point, this is a must-win for last-place Honduras if it’s to have any chance of making it to Qatar. The Catrachos will have star forward Romell Quioto back after he missed last month’s games injured, but will that be enough against fourth-place Panama’s tough defense?

» READ MORE: If you don’t know about U.S. men’s soccer rising star Ricardo Pepi yet, it’s time to pay attention

Canada vs. Costa Rica

Friday, 9 p.m. (Paramount+,

The only Concacaf team playing both games in this window at home, Canada has taken its show to Edmonton, the adopted hometown of superstar Alphonso Davies.

As the third-place Canucks seek a statement win over the fifth-place Ticos, a crowd of over 46,000 is expected at 56,400-seat Commonwealth Stadium. And the weather will add to the spectacle: temperatures in low 30s at kickoff, with the potential for snow flurries.

» READ MORE: Brenden Aaronson’s rocket ride to stardom hits its highest point yet ahead of the USMNT’s biggest game

United States vs. Mexico

Friday, 9:10 p.m. (ESPN2, ESPN+, Univision 65, TUDN)

So much has been said about this game, and the decades of passionate contests that have preceded it. Now sit back and enjoy a clash that is not just Concacaf’s best rivalry, but one that has become among the world’s best among national teams.

The time listed above is the kickoff time. ESPN2′s TV coverage starts at 9 p.m., with an hour of pregame coverage on ESPN+ and ESPN’s social media channels, and a postgame show on ESPN+ too. Univision and TUDN’s broadcast will start at 8 p.m.

» READ MORE: Zack Steffen will start, but Christian Pulisic won’t in what could be the last great U.S.-Mexico World Cup qualifier

El Salvador vs. Jamaica

Friday, 10 p.m. (Paramount+,; tape-delayed on Universo at 10 p.m.)

It’s hard to call a road game a must-win, but Jamaica hosts the U.S. on Tuesday. So it would really help the Reggae Boyz to get something out of this.

But El Salvador needs it too, and has showed throughout the campaign that it’s got a huge home-field advantage at San Salvador’s Estadio Cuscatlan. If there’s a winner here, that team will break a tie for sixth place, with both teams currently on five points.

» READ MORE: After proving skeptics wrong by finishing second in the East, some of the Union’s iron men finally get to rest

Malawi vs. Cameroon

Saturday, 8 a.m. (ESPN+)

The Union’s Olivier Mbaizo starts the biggest weekend of his soccer career as Cameroon tries to win its World Cup qualifying group and advance to the final round. This game should be winnable, which would set up a massive rivalry home game against Ivory Coast on Tuesday (11 a.m., ESPN+).

Cape Verde vs. Central African Republic

Saturday, 11 a.m. (ESPN+)

Soon after Mbaizo’s game ends, it will be Jamiro Monteiro’s turn to star. This is Cape Verde’s last home game of the group stage, and a win would set up a winner-take-all game at Nigeria on Tuesday (11 a.m., ESPN+).

» READ MORE: The Union’s African stars are chasing World Cup dreams amid the team’s MLS playoff run

Bayern Munich vs. Wolfsburg

Saturday, 1 p.m. (, Fanatiz)

Here are the top two teams in Germany’s women’s Bundesliga, both in the standings and in terms of star power. They’ve won every league title since 2013, and they’ve been first and second every year since 2015. Bayern won the title last season, ending Wolfsburg’s four-year reign at the top.

France vs. Kazakhstan

Saturday, 2:45 p.m. (UniMás, TUDN, ESPN+)

France, the reigning World Cup champion, can punch its ticket to Qatar with a win at Paris’ grand old Parc des Princes stadium.

U.S. under-20s vs. Colombia

Saturday, 5 p.m. (TUDN)

In its opening game of the Revelations Cup, the U.S. was smoked by Brazil’s under-18s, 4-0. There’s no shame in that, since Brazil’s prospects hail from some of South America’s biggest clubs — and they’ve played together a lot more than the U.S. squad, since the youth program was shut down during the pandemic.

But the Union’s Paxten Aaronson looked good, and all the American players got a great lesson. This should be another, and hopefully a closer game.

» READ MORE: Latest Union phenom Paxten Aaronson keeps up family tradition

Manchester City vs. Chelsea

Sunday, 10 a.m. (,, Fanatiz; tape-delayed on NBC10 at 12:30 p.m.)

Man City enters the seventh round of FA Women’s Super League games in seventh place, with just seven points so far. This game against the reigning champions — who are in second, three points back of Arsenal — might be a must-win for City and embattled manager Gareth Taylor.

» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's FA Women's Super League schedule

Spain vs. Sweden

Sunday, 2:45 p.m. (6abc, UniMás, TUDN)

This is the biggest game of the weekend in Europe, thanks to Sweden’s 2-0 upset loss at Georgia on Thursday — suffered with star Zlatan Ibrahimović playing all 90 minutes. The defeat kept Sweden from clinching a World Cup spot, and opened the door for Spain to jump into first place with a win here.

But Spain will be severely shorthanded, missing nine key players including Ansu Fati, Pedri, Gerard Moreno and Mikel Oyarzabal. It’s a big chance for Raúl de Tomás, La Liga’s joint No. 2 scorer this season with seven goals for Espanyol.

» READ MORE: More World Cup qualifying games to watch this weekend

Lyon vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Sunday, 3 p.m. (, Fanatiz)

The biggest game in French women’s soccer — and arguably the biggest women’s club rivalry in the world — comes at a wild time for PSG. On Wednesday, midfielder Aminata Diallo was arrested as part of an investigation into a violent assault on teammate Kheira Hamraoui at which Diallo was present. A third PSG player, Sakina Karchaoui, also spoke with police about the incident.

A man in Lyon was also arrested in connection with all of this, and has been questioned about a series of threats made to PSG women’s players.

Diallo was released on Thursday, and the charges against her and the man from Lyon (who was already in jail for another offense) were dropped. Diallo is presumed innocent by the authorities. But the investigation will continue as the players try to regroup themselves for the game.

OL Reign vs. Washington Spirit

Sunday, 3 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

Though they didn’t win the NWSL Shield in the regular season, the Reign might just have the most talented team in the playoffs. It’s certainly so when it comes to attackers, as no team can match the quintet of Rose Lavelle, Megan Rapinoe, Dzsenifer Marozsán, Jessica Fishlock and Eugénie Le Sommer. And they all had last week off after earning a first-round bye.

Washington advanced from the first round by edging North Carolina on penalty kicks. Now we’ll see how Andi Sullivan, Ashley Hatch, Trinity Rodman and the rest of the Spirit’s young talents match up against the Reign’s big stars.

» READ MORE: U.S. women’s soccer team starts overhaul for new era with roster for this month’s trip to Australia

Portland Thorns vs. Chicago Red Stars

Sunday, 5:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

The Thorns won the Shield, but the playoffs are really their time of year. Becky Sauerbrunn, Christine Sinclair, and young rising stars like Morgan Weaver and Sophia Smith know they’re two wins away from putting a third star on their jerseys — what would be the most of any NWSL team.

They’re also two wins away from a feat no team in American women’s soccer has ever achieved: winning four trophies in one year. Portland won the NWSL Challenge Cup, the International Challenge Cup, and then the Shield. Finishing the sweep would be the ideal way to send manager Mark Parsons off to his new job as the Netherlands’ head coach.

Can Chicago stop the juggernaut? They need a stout defensive game from Tierna Davidson, Sarah Gorden and Casey Kruger, and to hope for another moment of magic from Mallory Pugh up front.