The FC Barcelona players that are away on international duty will be playing their second games of the week on Tuesday night, after which they will all be returning to the club. The games featuring Barça players include a crunch tie at the Vicente Calderón between Spain and France, while Alexis’ Chile is at home to Argentina, who have both Messi and Mascherano in their ranks.
Eight Barça men at the Calderón
Spain have eight Barça players in the squad for a game that should have a huge bearing on who finishes top of Group I. They play France (21.00), the other big favourite, and the two sides are tied on six points at the moment. But while Vicente del Bosque’s Spain side is in a buoyant mood after their impressive 4-0 win in Belarus, including a hat trick from FCB striker Pedro and another goal from Alba, France have just lost 1-0 at home to Japan in a friendly. If either side can take all three points at the Vicente Calderón, then they will be on very good course indeed for a place at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
Alexis v Messi
On the other side of the Atlantic, there will be plenty of Barcelona interest in the game between Chile, with Alexis in the side, and Argentina, with Messi and Mascherano, at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago, kicking off at 02:05 CET. The two teams are coming into this game in contrasting situations. Argentina are looking very strong at the moment, with Messi finding some of his finest form ever in the famous blue and white jersey. They are riding high at the top of the nine-team qualification group after a convincing 3-0 win over Uruguay. But Chile are down in fifth with 12 points after two consecutive losses, including the recent 3-1 reverse in Ecuador, and are in desperate need of points to keep their World Cup dream alive.
Spain U21 almost through
At 18.30, Aalborg is the venue for the Spain U21 team against Denmark in their European Championship playoff. After the side managed by former Barça keeper Julen Lopetegui won the first leg 5-0, it should only be a case of going through the motions in order to ensure passage to next year’s finals in Israel. Montoya and Bartra from the Barcelona first team, and Tello, Planas, Deulofeu and Sergi Roberto from the reserves, are all in the squad.
Brazil are hosting the next World Cup, so don’t have to qualify, and instead, with Adriano in the team, will be playing a friendly today against Japan. It kicks off at 14.10 in the Polish city of Wroclaw.