Premier League goes on a two-week break after the opening three rounds and the September qualifying matches for the World Cup in Russia are ahead of us. Manchester United will have 16 players on international duty.
Gareth Southgate named four Manchester United players into his squad. On the team-sheet are Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford. England will play in Malta on 1 September and then against Slovakia at Wembley three days later. The match against Slovakia is the key one. England sit top of the table with two points more than Slovaks.
With a win over Slovakia, England’s place in Russia would be much closer, with at least five points more than the rival. Yet, Slovenia is just one point behind Slovakia, so the Three Lions should not be too relaxed before the final two matches in October.
Other European Internationals In World Cup Qualifiers
Henrikh Mkhitaryan started his season in a thrilling fashion, collecting five assists in just three Premier League matches. He will be traveling to Romania, where Armenia will have a head-to-head fight for the fourth place in Group E as both sides have six points. After that, Armenia will host Denmark in Yerevan and could potentially hinder opposition’s chances in a bid to reach Russia next year.
Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini will be on duty for Belgium. The striker has already scored six times. Belgium will play at home against minnows Gibraltar and then travel to Greece. With eventual six points, Belgium would probably qualify for the World Cup with two matches to play.
Paul Pogba will be on duty for France who are in a trouble in Group A. France are second in the group with as many points as Sweden at the top. They will play two home matches, against Netherlands and Luxembourg. Daley Blind is in Dutch squad and after France, they will host Bulgaria. In the same group Victor Lindelof should play for Sweden away in Bulgaria and Belarus. Jose Mourinho will be watching this group, for sure.
Matteo Darmian is part of Italian squad, but it remains unknown if he will be the choice for starting XI. Italy will play Spain at Santiago Bernabeu in a big European derby. In goal for Spain will be David De Gea. Italy will then play at home against Israel, while Spain will visit Liechtenstein. Both Italy and Spain sit on top of the group with 16 points.
Nemanja Matic is the final player who will play in Europe this fortnight. Serbia will first play at home against Moldova before travelling to Republic of Ireland. “Orlovi” sit top of the table in Group D, but with as many points as Ireland. It will be a key match in Dublin for Serbia’s hopes of reaching Russia.
South American and African Internationals
Sergio Romero was called up by Jorge Sampaoli and should be in goal. Argentina did not play well but in September will have their chance to change that. Los Albicelestes will in Uruguay in the most important match of the qualifiers. Argentina are fifth with two points less than Colombia in second. After Uruguay, Argentina will host bottom-placed Venezuela.
Antonio Valencia is part of Ecuador’s squad. His team will hope to use any of Argentina’s poor matches as they are two points behind them. They will play Brazil away (already qualified to Russia) and Peru at home.
In African qualifiers, Eric Bailly for Ivory Coast. They play both matches against Gabon, first of them being away. With two wins, Ivory Coast will be very close to securing their place at the 2018 World Cup.