International Whites

Friday 12 October 2012 09:00

A host of Fulham’s First Team stars and young prospects will be in action during the international break after being called up for their respective countries.

Giorgos Karagounis is expected to feature for Greece for the first time since the 2012 European Championships when they host group leaders Bosnia & Herzegovina on Friday. If he plays, it will mean a 121st cap for Giorgos, making him outright the most capped Greek of all-time – he’s currently level on 120 with Theo Zagorakis.

The Greece captain will be desperate to mark the occasion with a positive result but it won’t be easy against a side which has hit 12 goals from their two matches so far. Greece then travel to Slovakia to take on the side one place below them in Group G on Tuesday.

Alexander Kačaniklić could make his competitive debut for Sweden when they face European minnows the Faroe Islands in Torshavn on Friday, before travelling to Berlin to take on Germany on Tuesday.

Northern Ireland have arguably their toughest test of the qualifying campaign when they take on Portugal at the Estadio do Dragao on Tuesday. Chris Baird and Aaron Hughes are both likely to feature as Michael O’Neill’s men go in search of a first Group F win.

Group E is very tight after two matches – Norway sit second bottom as things stand but could go top with a win over Switzerland in Bern on Friday. John Arne Riise and Brede Hangeland will both add to the plethora of caps they can already boast, before they face Cyprus the following Tuesday.

Stephen Kelly’s Republic of Ireland have the same fixtures as Kačaniklić’s Sweden, just in reverse; they host the Germans at the Aviva Stadium on Friday and travel to the Faroe Islands for Tuesday’s clash.

Costa Rica have two vital qualifiers when they take on El Salvador, who sit one place above them in the table, and Guyana – the only side below them in Group B. It’s just as well, then, that Bryan Ruiz has returned to full fitness as his creativity will be imperative if the Ticos are to progress.

There are Fulham players involved in each of the Asian qualifying groups, with Ashkan Dejagah’s Iran side facing the Korean Republic in Group A, and Mark Schwarzer and Australia taking on Iraq in Group B; both matches taking place on Tuesday.

Dejagah will be hoping to feature as Iran welcome the group leaders to Tehran – Ashkan’s city of birth – while Schwarzer will keep goal as the Socceroos look to get their qualifying campaign back on track after a shock defeat by Jordan in their last match.

Neil Etheridge will join up with the Philippines national side after turning out for Bristol Rovers at the weekend as the Azkals take on Kuwait City in a friendly match on Tuesday.

Pajtim Kasami has two huge games ahead of him as Switzerland Under-21s need to beat Germany in their two-legged Play-Off tie in order to qualify for the European Championships next summer. The first leg is in Leverkusen on Friday, before the Swiss welcome Germany to Lucerne on Tuesday.

Omri Altman, Lasse Vigen Christensen and Jack Grimmer have all been called up for their respective nations’ Under-19 sides for three European Championship qualifying matches. Israel face France, Portugal and Latvia; Denmark take on Lithuania, Turkey and Serbia; while Scotland come up against Armenia, Romania and Switzerland.

Finally, Ryan Williams and Corey Gameiro have been selected to represent Australia Under-20s at a training camp in Portugal, while Jesse Joronen joins up with Finland Under-21s for a friendly tournament.