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Naismith Ready To Face Jela

by Daniel Alston @efc_danalston

Two Blues could go head-to-head on Friday evening as the international action continues.

Scotland face Croatia in a World Cup qualifier, meaning Steven Naismith and Nikica Jelavic are set to come up against one another.

The forwards know each other well from their time with Everton and previously Rangers, but will put friendships aside for Friday's clash in Zagreb.

“There has been a little bit of banter back and forth this week,” said Naismith.

“[Jelavic] hasn’t said too much because he hasn’t been playing and he fears he might end up on the bench.”

The Scots are already out of contention for next summer's tournament in Brazil, but the Croats are neck and neck with group-toppers Belgium.

A change at the helm midway through qualifying saw Gordon Strachan appointed in January and with the rebuilding process now underway, Naismith admits the removal of pressure to progress from the group could aid the side for the future.

“Everybody knows Croatia are a great team and we will have to play at our best to have a chance,” continued the 26-year-old forward.

“They are right in the mix and we have nothing to play for, but a lot of times that happens the result doesn’t go the way people think.

“Hopefully that will be the case on Friday.”

“The manager has gone down the route of giving boys who will be here for the future a chance. But, don’t get me wrong, in training everybody has looked as if they should be here.

“The manager will certainly have a job picking the team."

Kevin Mirallas Belgium

A host of other Everton players are also in action this weekend.

Kevin Mirallas and Marouane Fellaini are in line to feature for Belgium in their own qualifier against Serbia, while John Heitinga has travelled to Asia as the Netherlands encounter friendlies with Indonesia and China.

Seamus Coleman will be hoping to further impress on the international stage, starting with Friday's World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands in Dublin before a trip to New York to face Spain in a showcase fixture.

Also Stateside, Tim Howard and the USA have three qualifiers, starting in Jamaica on Friday and hosting Panama and Honduras on 11 and 18 June respectively.

Bryan Oviedo is in the Costa Rica squad to take on Honduras, Mexico and Panama on the same dates.

FRIDAY 7 JUNE
Belgium v Serbia
Croatia v Scotland
Costa Rica v Honduras
Indonesia v Netherlands
Republic of Ireland v Faroe Islands
Jamaica v United States

MONDAY 10 JUNE
Croatia v Portugal

TUESDAY 11 JUNE
Mexico v Costa Rica
China v Netherlands
Republic of Ireland v Spain
United States v Panama

TUESDAY 18 JUNE
Costa Rica v Panama
United States v Honduras

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