SERBIA vs. Japan
Who: Branislav Ivanovic (64)
When: Friday, October 11, 2013, 16:30 BST; 11:30am EDT
Where: Karadorde Stadium, Novi Sad, Serbia
How: N/A (USA); NHK (JPN)
Why: Serbia have already been eliminated, so this is just a friendly versus Honda & Kagawa & Co.
Croatia vs. BELGIUM
Why: Belgium & Croatia have the top two spots wrapped up in Group A and Belgium can assure themselves first place and automatic qualification by getting just a point from this (or their next match). With Benteke injured, we should be seeing starts for at least three of the Chelsea Four depending on just how badly hurt De Bruyne may be and what emphasis Marc Wilmots places on club form vs. international form.
Malta vs. CZECH REPUBLIC
Who: Petr Cech (103)
When: Friday, October 11, 2013, 18:30 BST; 1:30pm EDT
Where: National Stadium, Ta' Qali, Malta
How: ESPN3 (USA)
Why: Mathematically, the Czechs are still in it. Realistically, they need a miracle. Which is not very realistic at all. But that's what happens when you drop points at home to Armenia and Denmark. The Czechs need wins by Armenia (vs. Bulgaria) and Italy (away in Denmark) to keep hope alive this weekend, then a bit more help in midweek. It would also help to put a few past hapless Malta, but with just eight goals in eight matches so far, even that is not something that's guaranteed.
GERMANY vs. Ireland
Who: Andre Schurrle (26)
When: Friday, October 11, 2013, 19:45 BST; 2:45pm EDT
Where: RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne, Germany
How: ESPN2, ESPN3 (USA)
Why: Technically, they're not yet in, but it's just a formality at this point for Joachim Löw's men. Schürrle was carrying a slight knock earlier this week as he joined up with the national team, but he looks to have recovered and is in contention for a starting spot.
ENGLAND vs. Montenegro
Why: Ashley Cole had to pull out with a fractured rib, so we're down to just two England representatives this time around. And it's a crucial one as the Three Lions - through a series of unlikely events - is back firmly in control of their own destiny. Win both this one and the one against Poland on Tuesday and they're in automatically as group winners. Simple as that. Otherwise, the group becomes (continues to be) a mess.
SPAIN vs. Belarus
Who: Juan Mata (29)
When: Friday, October 11, 2013, 21:00 BST; 4pm EDT
Where: Iberostar, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
How: BT Sport 1 (UK); ESPN3 (USA)
Why: In Group I, both Spain and France are assured of at least second place, with the former currently topping the group on goal difference and with a game in hand. So here they play their hand, against a rather bad Belarus national team. Should be a formality. In fact, I like how the Spanish pretty much just dropped any and all pretense and combined it with a vacation to Mallorca.
South Korea vs. BRAZIL
Why: More friendlies for Brazil, this time in Asia. Ramires is the third most capped player in the squad after Dani Alves and Neymar. Unexpected.
BURKINA FASO vs. Algeria
Who: Bertrand Traoré (9)
When: Saturday, October 12, 2013, 17:00 BST; 12pm EDT
Where: Stade du 4-Août, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
How: beIN Sport Play (USA)
Why: Thousand Upper Volta are almost within touching distance of their first ever World Cup. And no, there's still no news about Traoré and his Chelsea contract, although I did see something circulating on Twitter, which claimed that it won't be happening until probably January due to bureaucratic shenanigans.
Ethiopia vs. NIGERIA
Why: Having gone winless in their last two World Cup trip, Nigeria are itching to get back there and show the world what they can really do. Kenneth Omeruo will miss the first leg of the playoff as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but he's hoping to be ready for the second leg coming up in about a month.
Tunisia vs. CAMEROON
Who: Samuel Eto'o (112)
When: Sunday, October 13, 2013, 17:45 BST; 12:45pm EDT
Where: Stade Olympique de Radès, Radès, Tunisia
How: BT Sport 1 (UK); beIN Sport, beIN Sport Play (USA)
Why: Looks like the rumors of Eto'o international retirement were far too exaggerated.
We could fill another post and a half with all the youth internationals as well. They are as follows:
- England U21: Nathaniel Chalobah
- England U19: Lewis Baker, Mitchell Beeney, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, John Swift
- England U18: Ola Aina, Alex Kiwomya, Kasey Palmer
- Czech Republic U21: Tomas Kalas
- Belgium U21: Thorgan Hazard
- Netherlands U21: Nathan Ake
- Slovakia U21: Milan Lalkovic
- Denmark U21: Andres Christensen
- USA U18: Kyle Scott