Villa and Pedro / PHOTO: CARMELO RUBIO (RFEF)

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, Jordi Alba, 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