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Chelsea and international friendlies: Who's playing and when?

Mike Hewitt

It's been international month over here in Chelsea land, what with two key members of the squad faffing around at the Africa Cup of Nations for much of January, but now we have a bona fide international break coming up. Which is, to be honest, really, really lame.

I don't begrudge players competing in tournaments that actually matter, but international friendlies are ridiculously annoying*. They're rarely good football and the prospect of seeing a Chelsea player getting hurt in an irrelevant kickabout fills me with a rage best described as 'incandescent'. That the barely-recovered-from-injury David Luiz is starting for Brazil against England on Wembley's cluster[fun] of a pitch is horrifying to contemplate, as is the idea of Juan Mata picking up an injury with Spain.

*Ok, Ashley Cole getting his 100th England cap is pretty cool.

So, yeah. Basically just hoping nobody gets hurt here. Here're the games Chelsea players have been called up for and how to watch them if you so choose:

England vs. Brazil - Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill, Frank Lampard, David Luiz, Ramires, Oscar
7:30 pm GMT, 2:30 pm EST
Wembley Stadium, London, England
ITV 1 (UK), Fox Soccer Channel (USA)

Spain vs. Uruguay - Cesar Azpilicueta, Juan Mata
6:00 pm GMT, 1:00 pm EST
Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar

Belgium vs. Slovakia - Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku
7:45 pm GMT, 2:45 pm EST
Jan Breydelstadion, Brugges, Belgium

Israel vs. Finland - Yossi Benayoun
6:00 pm GMT, 1:00 pm EST
Ramat Gan Stadium, Tel Aviv, Israel

Cyprus vs. Serbia - Branislav Ivanovic
5:00 pm GMT, 12:00 pm EST
GSP Stadium, Nicosia, Cyprus

Turkey vs. Czech Republic - Tomas Kalas
6:15 pm GMT, 1:15 pm EST
19 Mayıs Stadium, Ankara, Turkey

And in real international matches, Nigeria are playing against Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations semifinals (). Win or lose, the squad will be there for the weekend (third place game is on Saturday, final on Sunday), so we might as well get behind Victor Moses, John Obi Mikel and the impressive Kenneth Omeruo to win the whole thing.

Nigeria vs. Mali - Victor Moses, John Obi Mikel, Kenneth Omeruo
3:00 pm GMT, 10:00 am EST
Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban, South Africa
ITV 4 (UK), ESPN 3 (USA)

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