Three matches of the new season completed, the transfer window finally closed and the international players head off for the international break. For the players, however, it’s not a break with many of them involved in vital World Cup qualifying games during the next week.
The new summer signings at Tottenham have increased the interest in the up-coming internationals. Rather than just having an interest in the England match, the involvement of Spurs players for France, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Iceland and Romania has greatly widened our interest in the World Cup qualifiers as we check on performances but also more importantly the fitness and well-being of our players.
**[Any late transfers in or out of White Hart Lane have not been taken into account in this article nor has any late withdrawals or inclusions in squads as it was written ahead of the closure of the transfer window]
Andros Townsend has been called into the England squad for the first time to join up with two team mates from Tottenham who are regulars in the England squad – Kyle Walker and Jermain Defoe. England face two important qualifiers at home to Moldova and then away in Ukraine. With Spurs playing FC Sheriff, the champions of Moldova, in the Europa League it will be an opportunity to assess any of the players they might face in a few weeks time. England will be expecting a win against Moldova but Ukraine will be tougher opposition who are currently just a point behind England.
With Nacer Chadli added to the Tottenham ranks, he makes up a trio of Belgium internationals along with Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele. Belgium is the ‘new Croatia’ for Spurs fans. They will be travelling to Hampden Park where they will face Scotland as they endeavour to maintain their three point advantage at the top of the group.
The French captain, Hugo Lloris will face a return trip to Georgia followed by a game in Belarus. New signing Etienne has had to withdraw from the squad as he will be out for four weeks with the ankle injury which saw him stretchered off in the second half of the match at the Emirates. France are second in the group behind Spain who have a single point advantage.
Roberto Soldado will have a trip to Finland where a win will keep them ahead of France in the qualifying group. With Fernando Torres omitted from the squad Soldado who has scored 4 goals in his first three Tottenham matches will be hoping to add to his 11 international appearances and 6 goals for his country.
The arrival of central defender Vlad Chiriches will require us to check up on the Romania team’s progress as they endeavour to overtake Hungary for 2nd place in the group. The two teams separated by a point meet on Friday with Romania having home advantage. A win would put them into second with another home game against Turkey the following Tuesday. Turkey are currently 4th in the group, three points behind Romania. These are two critical matches for Romania as they try to secure qualification for the Finals in Brazil next summer behind the Netherlands who are runaway leaders of the group.
Christian Eriksen will be with Denmark for their two away matches in Malta and Armenia. They are currently 5th in their group but could still qualify as 2nd-placed Bulgaria are only 4 points ahead.
Gylfi Sigurdsson is included in the Iceland squad for their two games against Switzerland and Albania. Iceland are currently third in the group, a point behind Albania. The home match against Albania could become crucial to their hopes of qualification after a tough match in Switzerland against the group leaders who have 4 point advantage on Albania who play in Slovenia on Friday. Sigurdsson scored both of Iceland’s goals in a 2 – 1 win in Slovenia last March.
Erik Lamela is in the Argentina squad for their World Cup qualifying match against Paraguay on Tuesday, 10th September.
Brazil, as hosts of next summer’s World Cup, don’t have any qualifying games but will play two friendly internationals in the coming week as part of their continuing preparations. Paulinho has been included in the squad which will play Australia in Brasilia on Saturday, 7th September and face Portugal in Boston three days later.
The Cameroon and Togo both have matches next week but whether Benoit Assou-Ekotto or Emmanuel Adebayor will be involved in those matches is uncertain.
Three Tottenham Under-21 players are included in the England Under-21 squad for their matches at home to Moldova and in Finland. Tom Carroll who scored his first England Under-21 goal in last month’s win over Scotland will be hoping to make his first start after two appearances as a substitute. Harry Kane made his first appearance for the Under-21 team in that game and Zeki Fryers who made his Tottenham debut against Dinamo Tbilisi in the Europa League match last Thursday is also in the squad.
Jordan Archer is part of the Scotland squad which faces the Netherlands in their Group 3 game in Holland.
Those Left Behind
For the players not involved with the international squads over the next ten days, including Michael Dawson, Younes Kaboul and Danny Rose, they will probably be given a few days off before returning to a near deserted training ground for training ahead of the Premier League game against Norwich City on 22nd September and the re-commencement of a busy schedule of League, Cop and Europa League matches.