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International Blues

A look ahead to the latest set of World Cup qualifiers.

International Blues
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No less than 14 members of Everton’s senior squad have linked up with their respective nations for the forthcoming international fixtures.

Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Ross Barkley have made the shortest trip, with the trio reporting to St George’s Park in preparation for Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Moldova at Wembley. The Three Lions will then travel to Kiev to face Ukraine a week on Tuesday as they bid to move a step closer to qualification for next summer’s World Cup.

Seamus Coleman is another Blue, along with deadline day recruit James McCarthy, who is involved in a World Cup qualifying double-header. Republic of Ireland are currently placed fourth in Group C but know that precious points against Sweden and Austria – teams that sit above them in the table – would significantly aid their quest to reach Brazil.

New signing Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas could face their Everton colleague Steven Naismith as Belgian lock horns with Scotland in Glasgow on Friday evening in Group A. Belgium are on course to qualify for a World Cup for the first time since 2002 having taken 19 points from their first seven fixtures but the Scots, on the other-hand, know progression is already out of their grasp.

After playing Belgium, Naismith and Scotland will then prepare for an away qualifier against bottom-placed Macedonia in Skopje the following Tuesday.

Also in Group A, Nikica Jelavic could help Croatia keep on the heels of Belgium when they play neighbours Serbia on Friday evening. Croatia are currently three points adrift of the group leaders with three fixtures left to play.

Tim Howard has flown across the Atlantic to unite with the USA squad for their matches against Costa Rica and Mexico in the COCACAF World Cup qualifying zone. Maximum points for USA from these games could see their place in Brazil secured, dependant on results elsewhere.

Bryan Oviedo is in line to face Howard after being recalled to the Costa Rica squad, who could leapfrog the USA with a victory in San Jose on Friday. They then play bottom-placed Jamaica on 10 September.

Elsewhere, John Stones has been named in Gareth Southgate’s first England Under-21s squad for the back-to-back Euro 2015 qualifiers at home to Moldova and away in Finland.

Also in the Under-21s picture, Gerard Deulofeu is included in the Spain setup for their games against Austria and Albania, Shane Duffy is set to face Germany for Republic of Ireland and Apostolos Vellios is in contention to feature against Malta for Greece.

THURSDAY 5 SEPTEMBER
England U21s v Moldova U21s
Estonia U19s v England U19s
Austria U21s v Spain U21s

FRIDAY 6 SEPTEMBER
Scotland v Belgium
England v Moldova
Republic of Ireland v Sweden
Serbia v Croatia
USA v Costa Rica

MONDAY 9 SEPTEMBER
Finland U21s v England U21s
Spain U21s v Albania U21s
Republic of Ireland U21s v Germany U21s

TUESDAY 10 SEPTEMBER
Ukraine v England
Austria v Republic of Ireland
Jamaica v Costa Rica
Macedonia v Scotland
USA v Mexico
South Korea v Croatia
Greece U21s v Malta U21s

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