International Duty For Blues

by Daniel Alston

Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka are among a host of Everton players on international duty this week.

The defensive duo are in the Three Lions squad for two World Cup qualifiers - the first of which is against Moldova on Friday evening.

Jagielka scored his first England goal in the 2-1 win over Italy last month and is vying for a start with John Terry, Gary Cahill and Joleon Lescott.

Manager Roy Hodgson, meanwhile, has warned against the dangers of underestimating the Moldovans.

He said: "If we are not aware of the fact that this is a major hurdle of the 10 hurdles we have to jump over, then we would be very, very foolish.

"And, certainly, my message to the players is that, 'I don't care if they are called Moldova. As far as I'm concerned, they could be called Brazil and we have to produce a performance to win us the game'.

"And if it turns out that perhaps they are not that good after all then I will be very happy."

Four days later, Hodgson's side welcome Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine to Wembley for another qualifier for the 2014 tournament in Brazil.

Elsewhere, Seamus Coleman is in the Republic of Ireland group for their own qualifying match against Kazakhstan, followed by a friendly against Oman.

Coleman’s Everton teammate Darron Gibson asked not to be considered for the games.

Marouane Fellaini and Kevin Mirallas could come up against Nikica Jelavic when Belgium entertain Croatia in Brussels on Tuesday night.

Before that encounter, Belgium face Wales in Cardiff and Croatia host Macedonia on Saturday.

Tim Howard's United States play against Jamaica home and away within the space of four days, while another Blues goalkeeper, Jan Mucha, is in line to face Lithuania and Liechtenstein with Slovakia.

John Heitinga's Netherlands take on Turkey and Hungary, and Steven Naismith is in the Scotland squad for qualifiers in Glasgow against Serbia and Macedonia.

Deadline day signing Bryan Oviedo is forced to wait until after the break for his first Everton appearances, but in the meantime will represent Costa Rica in games against Mexico.

Two Toffees are primed for Under-21 duty, with Shane Duffy's Republic of Ireland and Apostolos Vellios' Greece set to conclude their 2013 European Championship qualifying stage.

Johan Hammar and Gethin Jones are both in action for Sweden and Wales at Under-19 level, respectively.

Fixtures in full:

Thursday 6 September
Hungary U21s v Republic of Ireland U21s
Sweden U19s v Denmark U19s

Friday 7 September
Moldova v England
Wales v Belgium
Kazakhstan v Republic of Ireland
Netherlands v Turkey
Jamaica v USA
Croatia v Macedonia
Lithuania v Slovakia
Costa Rica 
v Mexico 
Bosnia U21s v Greece U21s

Saturday 8 September
Scotland v Serbia

Monday 10 September
Italy U21s v Republic of Ireland U21s
Greece U21s v Cyprus U21s
Sweden U19s v Norway U19s
Germany U19s v Wales U19s

Tuesday 11 September
England v Ukraine
Belgium v Croatia
Republic of Ireland v Oman
Hungary v Netherlands
v Jamaica
Slovakia v Liechtenstein
Scotland v Macedonia
Mexico v Costa Rica

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