Yet another international break means that FC Barcelona’s first team will be reduced to just a handful of players for about ten days. An astonishing 15 players have been called up for international duty, some for key games in the Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Eight FCB players in Spain squad
Vicente del Bosque has called on the services of all of Valdés, JordiAlba, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fàbregas, Iniesta, Pedro, Xavi and Villa for Spain’s World Cup qualifying campaign, which got off to a winning start in Georgia last month. This week they travel to winless Belarus before hosting main group rivals France in Madrid.
Belarus v Spain Friday, October 12 (19.00, CET), in Minsk
Spain v France Tuesday, October 16 (21.00), in Madrid
In addition, two other first team members, Montoya and Bartra, plus Tello, Planas, Deulofeu and Sergi Roberto from Barça B, have been picked for the Spain U21 squad that faces Denmark over two legs this week in the playoffs for qualification for next year’s finals in Israel.
Spain v Denmark Thursday, October 11 (20.45), in Burgos
Denmark v Spain Tuesday, October 16 (18.30), in Aalborg
Alexis against Messi and Mascherano as Chile meet Argentina
Just three points separate the top six in South America’s fascinating World Cup qualifying section. Argentina, with Messi and Mascherano in the side, lead the way with 14 points from 7 games and this weekend meet famous rivals Uruguay, currently fourth. The day before, Barça’s Alexis is in action for Chile as they battle against the altitude and a strong Ecuadorian team in Quito. A few days later, Alexis will be up against his two club colleagues as Chile entertain their eastern neighbours in Santiago.
Argentina v Uruguay Saturday, October 13 (02.00, CET), in Mendoza
Ecuador v Chile Friday, October 12 (21.00, CET), a Quito
Chile v Argentina Wednesday, October 17 (02.05, CET), in Santiago
Brazil with Adriano but not Alves
Host nation Brazil have qualified automatically for the finals, but have a couple of friendlies programmed this week, both in Europe against Asian opposition. Alves misses out after suffering an injury in the clásico, but Adriano will be travelling both to Sweden to face Iraq and to Poland to take on Japan.
Brazil v Iraq Thursday, October 11 (20.30), in Malmö
Japan v Brazil Tuesday, October 16 (14.10), in Wroclaw
Song looking to lead Cameroon recovery
Alex Song is the only Barça international with just one game this week, but it’s a massive one. After being stunned 2-0 in Praia in the first leg of their African Cup of Nations playoff last month, Cameroon need to turn things around at home to the small island country looking to qualify for a major finals for the first time ever.
Cameroon v Cape Verde Sunday, October 14 (16.00, CET), in Yaoundé