Wednesday, September 2, 2009

International exodus

International exodus

The qualifying matches for the World Cup in South Africa mean that thirteen first team and two reserve team players will be away this week, the majority not returning until September 10.

As has been the case in recent seasons, after the first round of league matches, there is an international break. Josep Guardiola will only be working with Valdés, Pinto, Pedro and the injured Márquez, Iniesta and Maxwell.


_1RS0305_1.jpgFifteen Barça players have matches this weekend or on Wednesday 9, most of which are World Cup qualifiers. Spain has taken the most Barça players, four, namely Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Piqué and Puyol. Spain play Belgium (September 5) and Estonia (September 9), both games at home.

Bojan called up

Spain’s under 21 side has named a further three in Bojan, Fontàs and Jeffren to play Poland (September 4) and Liechtenstein (September 7) in European qualifiers. Bojan was injured against Sporting, and therefore his participation is subject to a medical examination.

Crunch meeting for Messi and Alves

Lionel-Messi-Brasil-vs-Argentina-Final-Copa-America-2007-1036.jpgThe biggest game of the week will be played late Saturday night European time, and features Argentina and Messi against Brazil and Alves, with qualification on a knife-edge for Diego Maradona’s Argentina. Messi was given special permission to travel to his country last Friday, where the game is being played in his hometown of Rosario. Alves has another game on Thursday at 3.00 am our time against Chile, two hours after Messi and his compatriots will have kicked off against Paraguay.

Ibrahimovic and Chygrynskiy

Barça’s two new players also have international commitments. Ibrahimovic will be playing for Sweden for the first time since last August due to his hand injury. The Scandinavians tackle Hungary (September 5) and Malta (September 9).

Dmytro Chygrynskiy, having sorted out his transfer to Barça, now returns to the Ukraine, where he plays Andorra (September 5) and Belarus (September 9).

France and Africa

GOL_HENRY.jpgThierry Henry and Éric Abidal, with France, take on Romania (September 5) and Serbia (September 9). Henry is returning to the Gallic squad after missing the last matches with Achilles tendon problems in both legs.

African players Keita and Touré also have internationals. Mali and Keita play on Sunday September 6 against Benin, and Touré’s Ivory Coast play Burkina Faso (September 5).

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