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Tuesday 04 June 2013

Road to Brazil: Premier League stars in international action

Barclays Premier League players set to represent their countries in World Cup 2014 qualifying

Christian Benteke could play for Belgium in their match against Serbia

The Barclays Premier League season is finished, but players from the competition will take to the international stage this week as they represent their countries in FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifiers. Here is a round-up who is playing where in the CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, Asia, Europe and Oceania qualifying sections.

CONMEBOL

Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) should feature for leaders Argentina as they host third-placed Colombia in Buenos Aires. Argentina are four points clear of the chasing pack, with the top four in the CONMEBOL group automatically qualifying for the World Cup.

CONCACAF

Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez is in the Mexico squad as they seek to claim their first victory of the campaign when they travel to Jamaica on Tuesday. Mexico take on Panama on Friday before playing Costa Rica on 11 June.

Fulham's Bryan Ruiz is in the Costa Rica squad for the matches against Honduras – who feature Stoke City's Wilson Palacios - on Friday and Mexico next week. Costa Rica are second in the six-country group with three matches played.

Stoke's trio of Geoff Cameron, Maurice Edu and Brek Shea, as well as Fulham's Clint Dempsey, Everton's Tim Howard and Aston Villa's Brad Guzan, are in the United States squad for their matches against Jamaica on Friday and Panama next week.

EUROPE

Group A leaders Belgium have 13 Barclays Premier League players in their squad for Friday’s match against Serbia. The squad includes Simon Mignolet (Sunderland), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur), Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) and Eden Hazard (Chelsea).

Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic and Manchester City's Aleksandar Kolarov are in the squad for third-placed Serbia, who require victory to close the gap on the leaders.

Croatia, who are level on points with Belgium, take on Gordon Strachan’s Scotland in Zagreb. The Scotland squad includes David Marshall (Cardiff City) and Robert Snodgrass (Norwich City).

Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky will lead the Czech Republic as they take on Group B leaders Italy. Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech is also in the squad as the third-placed Czechs aim to move second. 

West Bromwich Albion striker Shane Long is suspended for the Republic of Ireland's Group C match against the Faroe Islands in Dublin. Sunderland duo Keiren Westwood and James McClean both played in Sunday’s friendly victory over Georgia while Norwich playmaker Wes Hoolahan is in line for his first competitive international start against the Faroes. The squad also includes Hull City's Paul McShane, Crystal Palace's Damien Delaney and Everton's Seamus Coleman. Ireland need victory to maintain their hopes of finishing second in the group.

Aston Villa forward Andreas Weimann is in the Austria squad for their Group C match against Sweden, whose squad includes Fulham winger Alex Kacaniklic, West Brom's Jonas Olsson and Sunderland's Seb Larsson. Sweden, Austria and the Republic of Ireland are all on eight points with Sweden, eight points behind leaders Germany.

Cardiff midfielder Aron Einar Gunnarsson is in the Iceland squad as they look to top Group E with victory over Slovenia in Reykjavik. Fulham defender Brede Hangeland is in the Norway squad for their visit to Albania. The Norwegians are currently in fourth, one place behind Albania, and four points behind leaders Switzerland.

In Group F, Manchester United winger Nani will be helping Portugal as they try to top the table with victory over leaders Russia, who have two matches in hand.

Group G leaders Bosnia-Herzegovina have Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko in their squad for the trip to Latvia.  Bosnia are three points ahead of second-place Greece, who take on Lithuania in Vilnius with Fulham's Giorgos Karagounis in their squad.

Goalkeepers Artur Boruc (Southampton) and Wojciech Szczesny (Arsenal) are in the Poland squad for their trip to Moldova in Group H. Victory would reduce the gap between Poland and second-placed England to one point.

AFRICA

Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel will be in the Nigeria squad for their qualifier against Kenya in Nairobi on Wednesday. Nigeria are level on points with Malawi at the top of Group F.

ASIA

Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa and Southampton defender Maya Yoshida will be aiming to claim the point Japan require to secure a place in their fifth successive World Cup. If they do manage a draw in Saitama, they will become the first team to qualify for next summer's tournament in Brazil.

Australia are third, one point off the automatic qualification places with a match in hand, and have three Premier League players in their squad: Aston Villa's Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak of newly-promoted Crystal Palace and Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

South Korea could return to the top of Group A if they defeat basement club Lebanon in Beirut.  Sunderland's Ji Dong-won and Cardiff City's Kim Bo-kyung are in the squad.

FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifying fixtures

Tuesday, 4 June
Oman v Iraq
Qatar v Iran
Japan v Australia
Lebanon v Korea Republic
Jamaica v Mexico

Wednesday, 5 June
Malawi v Namibia
Kenya v Nigeria
Jamaica v Mexico
Kenya v Nigeria

Friday, 7 June
Libya v Congo
Sudan v Ghana
Iceland v Slovenia
Latvia v Bosnia-Herzegovina
Republic of Ireland v Faroe Islands
Armenia v Malta
Liechtenstein v Slovakia
Croatia v Scotland
Albania v Norway
Montenegro v Ukraine
Belgium v Serbia
Czech Republic v Italy
Austria v Sweden
Portugal v Russia
Azerbaijan v Luxembourg
Moldova v Poland
Lithuania v Greece
Costa Rica v Honduras
Jamaica v United States
Panama v Mexico
Bolivia v Venezuela
Argentina v Colombia
Paraguay v Chile
Peru v Ecuador

*We have referred to players who have been on loan by their parent club, because their loans spells have ended. Any player who is due for release is included because they are still registered to that club until 30 June.

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Key Points

  • Barclays Premier League players will be in action for their countries this week
  • The matches are part of the FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifying programme
  • 13 players are part of the Belgium squad for the match against Serbia
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