International Whites

Thursday 5 September 2013 09:01

Seven Fulham players could be in international action for their senior sides on Friday, while Dimitar Berbatov will play in a Charity match on Sunday.

New signing Elsad Zverotić will play for Montenegro in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying before he arrives in SW6 as his country travel to Warsaw to take on Poland in Group H.

Montenegro are the surprise leaders of the group as they sit top on 14 points after their seven games, ahead of England (12) and Ukraine (11) who have both played one match less. However, they were held to a 2-2 draw by the Poles in their last Qualifying game with Zverotić playing all 90 minutes. With England and Moldova next on the agenda, a win in Warsaw would do our new boy’s hopes of heading to Brazil a world of good.

Alexander Kačaniklić has returned from injury and could play for Sweden as they look to keep up the pressure on Germany for top spot in Group C.

Austria, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland are all level on 11 points - five behind the leaders - as they battle for the second qualifying position. Unbeaten in four competitive games, Sweden face the Irish in a must-win tie in Dublin on Friday and our winger, who has become first choice for his country, will certainly be key to their hopes of success.

Group E sees two Fulham defenders in action as Brede Hangeland’s Norway aim to close the gap on top side Switzerland, for whom Philippe Senderos will be in action.

Norway sit six points off the top and are at home to Cyprus after a 2-0 defeat to Iceland dented their hopes of qualifying, while the Swiss host Israel in Berne and have yet to lose a game. With clean sheets a key component of a successful campaign, the two defenders will come head-to-head next week in a match that will be vital for both teams’ hopes.

Greece, sitting in second place, are four points ahead of Slovakia in Group G and three behind Bosnia-Herzegovina as they include Giorgos Karagounis in the squad to face Liechtenstein in Vaduz.

The Greeks are unbeaten in three matches and play three of their last four games on home soil, with the trip to Liechtensten in their last away foray. Giorgos has been involved in four of the country’s six games to date so will surely lend his experience to the first XI once more.

Aaron Hughes was not passed fit to play for Northern Ireland in their game against Portugal in Group F. The Irish stunned Russia 1-0, but are eight points off top-of-the-table Portugal and will have to cope without our combative defender fit if they are to repeat it against Cristiano Ronaldo and company.

In CONCACAF Qualifying, Bryan Ruiz faces one of the biggest matches in his international career for Costa Rica as they take on the United States in a top-of-the-table clash.

Costa Rica have impressed in their Qualifying campaign and sit second, two points behind the US and with a chance to overhaul them and snatch top spot if they can pull off a win in San Jose. Only two points ahead of third-placed Mexico, Bryan’s side need to step up and take control of the group if they want to secure progress having won just one of their last four games.

He has yet to make his competitive debut for the First Team but Fernando Amorebieta is travelling to help Venezuela lift themselves from sixth place in the CONMEBOL Qualifying group.

A whopping 10 points off leaders Argentina and five away from fourth-placed Chile, their hopes of automatic progress may be slim but the all-important fifth position (and a spot in the Intercontinental Play-Off) sees them level with Uruguay on 16 points – although they have played one game more.

The first chance to change that for the better comes on Friday as they take on Chile in Santiago, but they have won only one of their seven away fixtures in the group to date.

He may have retired from international football with Bulgaria, but Berbatov will be back among the elite as he competes in a Legends Charity match for Stiliyan Petrov at Celtic Park on Sunday.

Petrov, who is in remission from acute leukaemia, played for Celtic during his career and has called upon the likes of current players such as Berbatov, John Terry and Gabriel Agbonlahor, retired stars Jamie Redknapp, Roy Keane and Robert Pires, as well as a host of celebrities including One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson, comic John Bishop and former Westlife singer Nicky Byrne to help raise money for his cancer foundation.

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