Club football takes a break this weekend as our attention turns to World Cup playoff and warm-up games. A number of Chelsea players are in their national squads and could get game time over the coming week ahead of the tournament in Russia next summer.
England v Germany
Gary Cahill is one of the more experienced names within the England squad for their two friendlies against Germany and Brazil. Gareth Southgate is without a few regular starters but may use these warm-up games to test fringe players against strong opposition. Two Chelsea players currently out on loan could be due to make their debuts over the course of these games. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, currently at Crystal Palace may get some minutes to add to his increasing Premier League game time. Tammy Abraham is the third Blues representative and could be in line to add an international cap to his goals this season. Abraham has scored four goals for Swansea this season already and with Harry Kane absent from the starting line up, he will be keen to impress.
Belgium v Mexico
Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard and Michy Batshuayi are all in the Belgium squad ahead of their friendlies against Mexico on Friday and Japan later next week. Hazard and Courtois are regular starters for their country and, if fit, will play in Russia. Batshuayi, however, has made only 11 starts for his country and will be hoping for the opportunity to impress this week. Time on the pitch for Chelsea has been limited so far this season but the 24-year-old forward has seven goals in 10 appearances this season already.
Sweden v Italy
Davide Zappacosta has found game time limited since his transfer to Chelsea at the start of the season having made just five appearances. He is part of the Italy squad who play the away leg of their playoff against Sweden on Friday. They then return home for the second leg on Monday aiming to qualify for the finals.
Denmark v Republic of Ireland
Andreas Christensen has 11 appearances for his country, five of which have come this year, and he could feature during Denmark’s playoff games against the Republic of Ireland. They play the home leg first on Saturday before heading to Ireland for the second game on Tuesday. Christensen has made 12 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea this season and is looking to establish himself in the defence.
England v Germany
Antonio Rüdiger could line up against his English teammates if he is selected for Germany. After being part of the 2017 confederations cup winning side, Rüdiger has featured for Germany in qualification for the World Cup. He scored his first goal for the national side in the 5-1 win over Azerbaijan last month.
Spain v Costa Rica
Former world champions Spain take on fellow World Cup qualifiers Costa Rica on Saturday. Alvaro Morata has 12 goals in his 22 games so far for the national side and will be looking to add to that to give the best chance of being in the squad.
Japan v Brazil
Forward Willian could be in line to earn his 50th cap for Brazil as they take on Japan. Brazil topped the South American qualification group fairly comfortably ahead of next summers tournament.