Previewing the next round of World Cup qualifiers, international friendlies, charity matches

USA TODAY Sports

About a dozen Chelsea players may be involved in various internationals over this extended FIFA weekend.

Having seen several Chelsea youth in competitive action at the UEFA European Under-21 Championships (which continues on Saturday), we now turn our attention to the senior players who have answered the call of international duty.

It's getting down to crunch time for many of these hopeful nations - the light at the end of the road to Brazil 2014 is growing ever larger, ever brighter.

For it's an extended international weekend (Friday - Tuesday, as usual), and this time, it matters.

BELGIUM vs. SERBIA, World Cup Qualifying - UEFA Group A

Date/Time: Friday, June 7, 19:45 BST; 2:45 P.M. EDT
Venue: Stade Roi Beaudoin, Brussels, Belgium
TV/Online: ESPN3 (USA)

Narrative: This is the big one, as Belgium are locked in a dead heat with Croatia for the automatic qualification spot from Group A. With a loss, Serbia would be mathematically eliminated, while Belgium would be assured of at least the playoffs. Rumored Chelsea target Lazard Markovic is Serbia's most capped forward with six. That about says it all for them, doesn't it?

Chelsea caps: Thibaut Courtois (9), Kevin De Bruyne (12), Eden Hazard (36), Thorgan Hazard (0), Romelu Lukaku (20) - Branislav Ivanovic (60)

CZECH REPUBLIC vs. ITALY, World Cup Qualifying - UEFA Group B

Date/Time: Friday, June 7, 19:45 BST; 2:45 P.M. EDT
Venue: Generali Arena, Prague, Czech Republic
TV/Online: ESPN/ESPN3 (USA)

Narrative: Italy will probably win Group B, which leaves the second spot for the Czechs, Bulgaria, and Denmark to fight over. Bulgaria currently lead the scrum, but they've played one more than the other two. Denmark's 3-0 victory over the Czechs in Prague might prove a crucial result later.

Chelsea cap: Petr Cech (100)

SPAIN vs. HAITI, Friendly / Confederations Cup Warm-up

Date/Time: Saturday, June 8, 21:00 BST; 4:00 P.M. EDT
Venue: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL
TV/Online: beIN Sport (USA)

Narrative: A charity match to raise funds for Haiti relief as well as a preparatory match for Spain for the Confederations Cup.

Chelsea caps: Cesar Azpilicueta (1), Juan Mata (23), Fernando Torres (101)

BRAZIL vs. FRANCE, Friendly / Confederations Cup Warm-up

Date/Time: Sunday, June 9, 20:00 BST; 3:00 P.M. EDT
Venue: Arena do Gremio, Porto Alegre, Brazil
TV/Online: beIN Sport (USA)

Narrative: Having lost to Luis Suarez a few days ago, the French team travel north to take on Brazil, who are also preparing for the Confederations Cup. Plenty of potential Chelsea targets to keep an eye out for in this including Hulk and young Eliaquim Mangala.

Chelsea caps: David Luiz (22), Oscar (16)

There's also a charity match on Saturday organized by Michael Essien (Essien Game of Hope), featuring the talents of Michael Ballack and probably several other current and retired football stars - possibly including a large contingent of Real Madrid and Chelsea players. So keep an eye our for that.

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