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Friday 22 March 2013

Barclays Premier League players set to clash on national duty

More than 180 players in the Barclays Premier League are in senior international action

  • Liverpool's Steven Gerrard stretches during England's training session

  • Tottenham's Gareth Bale is one of many Premier League players with Wales

  • Arsenal's Per Mertesacker trains with Germany in Kazakhstan

  • Chelsea and Spain's Juan Mata prepares to face Finland

More than 200 players from the Barclays Premier League are set to represent their countries at senior and under-21 level over the next five days.

A busy schedule of senior international fixtures includes qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, as well as international friendlies.

England, with the most Premier League representatives at senior level, travel to San Marino, who have yet to register a point in Group H of the European qualifying section for the 2014 World Cup, before an away fixture against table-topping Montenegro on Tuesday.

Twenty-three Barclays Premier League players will be pushing for selection as Scotland host Wales at Hampden Park. Wales, boasting Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale and Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey in their side, can move up to third in Group A, while Gordon Strachan's Scotland, including Sunderland's Steven Fletcher and Stoke City's Charlie Adam, will be looking to overtake their British rivals with a victory in the manager's first competitive match in charge.

Outside the home nations, France have the most Premier League players to choose from, with 10 in their squad. They host Georgia before taking on Spain at the top of Group I. Manchester City team-mates Gael Clichy (France) and David Silva (Spain) could face each other in a tie that will have a significant bearing on who qualifies from the group.

Clubs with players called up for international senior duty

Club Players Country Players
Chelsea 14 England 24
Man City 14 Rep Ireland 12
Man Utd 13 Wales 12
Fulham 12 Scotland 11
Wigan 12 France 10
Arsenal 12 Spain 8
West Brom 10 Belgium 7
Tottenham 9 Ivory Coast 6
Liverpool 8 N Ireland 6
Everton 8 Brazil 4
Newcastle 8 Netherlands 4
Southampton 8 USA 4
Sunderland 8 Israel 3
Reading 8 Jamaica 3
Stoke 8 Norway 3
Aston Villa 7 Senegal 3
QPR 6 Serbia 3
Swansea 6 Uruguay 3
West Ham 5 Argentina 2
Norwich 4 Australia 2

African qualifiers

In the African qualifying section, six Barclays Premier League players are in Ivory Coast's squad as they entertain Gambia. Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote, Arsenal's Gervinho and Wigan Athletic striker Arouna Kone join three Manchester City players as they look to stretch their lead at the top of their qualification group for the World Cup.

Chelsea are the Barclays Premier League team with the most players away on senior international during the international break. Three of their 14 internationals were in action for Brazil on Thursday night against Italy. Oscar, Ramires and David Luiz featured in the 2-2 draw in Geneva, while Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Julio Cesar also played the whole match. The Chelsea trio will return to familiar ground when they take on Russia on Tuesday. The friendly will be played at Stamford Brdige and tickets can be bought here.

West Ham United's Winston Reid has already been in action too, helping New Zealand beat New Caledonia 2-1 to win the Oceania group and qualify for the intercontinental playoff against the fourth-placed team from the Central and North American and Caribbean Confederation (CONCACAF).

Overall, 210 Premier League players will be away on international duty, with 182 representing their countries at senior level and 28 hoping to feature for Under-21 sides.

Fixtures - Friday 22 March

FIFA World Cup Qualifying  - UEFA Region

Group A
Croatia v Serbia; Macedonia v Belgium; Scotland v Wales

Group B
Bulgaria v Malta; Czech Rep. v Denmark

Group C
Kazakhstan v Germany; Austria v Faroe Islands; Sweden v Rep of Ireland

Group D
Andorra v Turkey; Hungary v Romania; Netherlands v Estonia

Group E
Slovenia v Iceland; Norway v Albania

Group F
Israel v Portugal; Luxembourg v Azerbaijan; Northern Ireland v Russia

Group G
Liechtenstein v Latvia; Slovakia v Lithuania; Bosnia-H v Greece

Group H
Moldova v Montenegro; Poland v Ukraine; San Marino v England

Group I
Spain v Finland; France v Georgia;

FIFA World Cup qualifying  - CONMEBOL Region
Colombia v Bolivia; Uruguay v Paraguay; Argentina v Venezuela; Peru v Chile

FIFA World Cup qualifying  - CONCACAF Region
Honduras v Mexico; United States v Costa Rica; Jamaica v Panama

FIFA World Cup qualifying  - Oceania region
New Zealand 2-1 New Caledonia; Tahiti v Solomon Islands. Friendlies: Japan vs. Canada.

Asian Cup qualifying
China v Iraq; UAE v Uzbekistan; Turkmenistan v Cambodia; Lebanon v Thailand; Bahrain v Qatar; Philippines v Brunei; Hong Kong v Vietnam; Malaysia v Yemen.

International Friendlies
Japan v Canada; South Korea v Syria, Dominican Republic v Haiti, Egypt v Swaziland

Saturday 23 March

FIFA World Cup qualifying  - UEFA Region
Group E
Cyprus v Switzerland

FIFA - World Cup qualifying  - CAF Region

Congo v Gabon; Cameroon v Togo; Nigeria v Kenya; Ivory Coast  v Gambia; Namibia v Malawi; Senegal v Angola; Burkina Faso v Niger; Tunisia v   Sierra Leone; South Africa v Central African Republic; Tanzania v Morocco; Lesotho v Zambia; Mozambique v Guinea ; Rwanda v Mali ; Congo DR v Libya; Ethiopia v Botswana; Ghana v Sudan; Liberia v Uganda; Equatorial Guinea v Cape Verde Islands; Algeria v Benin

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Key Points

  • More than 200 players from the Barclays Premier League in international action this week
  • England has the most players from the competition, but 23 players will feature in Scotland v Wales
  • As well as FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifiers there is qualification for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup