Chelsea players on international duty: how & when to watch this weekend

Alex Livesey

Who, what, where, when ... and why. Previewing the weekend's international action from the Chelsea angle.

GHANA vs. Zambia

Who: Michael Essien (52), Christian Atsu (17)
When: Friday, September 6, 2013, 17:00 BST; 12pm EDT
Where: Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Kumasi, Ghana
How: N/A

Why: This one's for all the marbles and Ghana have appropriately called on all their big European stars. The winner of the match will advance to the third and final qualifying (playoff) round in Africa, while the loser goes home. With a one point lead heading into this final match of the second group stage, Ghana are also ok with just a draw.

CZECH REPUBLIC vs. Armenia

Who: Petr Cech (101)
When: Friday, September 6, 2013, 17:00 BST; 12pm EDT
Where: Eden Arena, Prague, Czech Republic
How: ESPN3 (USA)

Why: Returning to the site of Chelsea's latest Super Cup failure, Petr Cech will be hoping for better as they look to stay in the hunt for Brazil 2014. Lackluster home results have left the Czechs mired in third place, well off Italy's pace but just one point behind second place Bulgaria. ČEŠI, DO TOHO!

SERBIA vs. Croatia

Who: Branislav Ivanovic (62)
When: Friday, September 6, 2013, 19:45 BST; 2:45pm EDT
Where: Stadion Crvena Zvezda, Belgrade, Serbia
How: ESPN3 (USA)

Why: Mathematically, they're still in it, but Serbia's hopes of qualifying for World Cup 2014 are all over but for the shouting. Of which there will be plenty in this supremely heated and nationalistic rivalry.

GERMANY vs. Austria

Who: André Schürrle (25)
When: Friday, September 6, 2013, 19:45 BST; 2:45pm EDT
Where: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
How: BT Sport 2 (UK), ESPN3 (USA)

Why: Germany have breezed the group so far and should continue to do so against surprising (and second place ahead of Sweden) Austria. It has yet to fail to get me that Schürrle is the second youngest in the squad (after Julian Draxler). So young!

Scotland vs. BELGIUM

Who: Eden Hazard (38), Romelu Lukaku (22), Kevin De Bruyne (14), Thibaut Courtois (11)
When: Friday, September 6, 2013, 20:00 BST; 3pm EDT
Where: Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland
How: Sky Sports 3 (UK), ESPN3 (USA)

Why: Belgium were the first European team to ensure themselves at least second spot in their qualifying group, so they're sitting pretty ahead of what should be an easy encounter versus the hapless Scots.

ENGLAND vs. Moldova

Who: Ashley Cole (103), Frank Lampard (98), Gary Cahill (16)
When: Friday, September 6, 2013, 20:00 BST; 3pm EDT
Where: Wembley Stadium, London, England
How: ITV 1 (UK), Fox Sports 1 (USA)

Why: Trailing Montenegro by two points for the top spot and automatic qualification, England cannot afford many more disappointing results. Although Hodgson's men are undefeated, they've managed the full three points in just three of the six qualifying matches so far.

NIGERIA vs. Malawi

Who: John Obi Mikel (51), Victor Moses (13)
When: Saturday, September 7, 2013, 16:00 BST; 11am EDT
Where: UJ Esuene Stadium, Calabar, Nigeria
How: N/A

Why: Nigeria need just a draw to ensure top spot in their group and qualification for the final playoff round in Africa's World Cup qualifying process.

BURKINA FASO vs. Gabon

Who: Bertrand Traoré (8)
When: Saturday, September 7, 2013, 16:30 BST; 11:30am EDT
Where: Stade du 4 Août 1983, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
How: N/A

Why: Burkina Faso need a win but they don't fully control their destiny as they enter the final day a point behind group leaders Congo who play away to bottom of the group Niger.

BRAZIL vs. AUSTRALIA

Who: Ramires (34), David Luiz (28), Oscar (23) vs. Mark Schwarzer (108)
When: Saturday, September 7, 2013, 20:15 BST; 3:15pm EDT
Where: Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha, Brasília, DF, Brazil
How: BT Sport 1 (UK); beIN Sport (USA)

Why: Brazil have already qualified automatically for the World Cup as hosts, so this is just a friendly. But Ramires is back in the good graces of Scolari, so that's nice. Schwarzer might get to play for the first time since his howler vs. Roma in preseason, which is also nice. But Oscar's a bit hurt, which is not nice.

CAMEROON vs. Libya

Who: Samuel Eto'o (112)
When: Sunday, September 8, 2013, 15:30 BST; 10:30am EDT
Where: Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaoundéu, Cameroon
How: N/A

Why: In what seems to be a common theme for all our African qualifiers, Cameroon need a win to seal the top spot in their second round group. Like Ghana, they currently lead the group by a point and so are also ok with just a draw versus second place Libya.

As always, there are plenty of youth players involved in various under-21 and under-19 internationals as well. Nathaniel Chalobah just finished playing for England U21 (and assistant coach Steve Holland), while Lewis Baker and Mitchell Beeney both started for England U19. Todd Kane (U21), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (U19), and Ola Aina (U19) were named as substitutes. Thorgan Hazard (U21) and Charly Musonda Jr. (U19) are similarly involved for Belgium, while Nathan Ake and Marco van Ginkel (both U21) represent the Netherlands and Andreas Christensen looks to win his second under-21 cap for Denmark.

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