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Chelsea players on international duty: Who, when, how to watch on Thursday and Friday

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Daily Life Amid World Cup Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

International break is like marmite: you can hate it or love it but you can’t ignore it. Although for these periods, the public perception is normally swayed towards the former rather than the latter as it’s mostly viewed as a disruption and nothing else.

However, as Chelsea fans that’s all we have till the 1st of April when the Blues will face off against city rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Keeping that positive outlook in mind, here’s a preview for all the international matches till the end of this weekend; at least for the ones that are worth watching as Chelsea fans.

Denmark vs Panama

Date / Time: Thursday, March 22, 2018; 19:00 GMT, 15:00 EST, 00:30 IST (the next day)

Venue: Brøndby Stadion, Brøndby, Denmark

Referee: Neil Doyle (IRL)

Forecast: Cloudy and chilly. Expected temperatures to be around 4°C (39°F) with 94% humidity

On TV: none (UK); none (USA); none (India); elsewhere

The first match of the list comes from Denmark itself as Andreas Christensen and co. take on 53rd-ranked Panama. Unfortunately for us, Christensen might not start in his favoured centre-back role.

After trials as a fullback in Denmark’s 2nd leg qualifier against Ireland and scoring a goal in the same match, Danish national team manager Åge Hareide has hinted that he will try Christensen in defensive midfield. That’s something to look forward to!

Russia vs Brazil

Date / Time: Friday, March 23, 2018; 18:00 GMT, 14:00 EST, 23:30 IST

Venue: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia

Referee: Aliaksiej Kuĺbakoŭ (BLR)

Forecast: Snow shower expected with temperatures around 2°C (36°F). I mean, it’s Russia; what else would you expect?

On TV: none (UK); beIN SPORTS, none (USA); (India); elsewhere

In this match-up, 2018 World Cup hosts Russia take on five times World Cup winner Brazil. The Seleção will be without their talisman Neymar due to injury concerns but I don’t feel bad for them as they still have Firmino, Gabriel Jesus, Willian and Coutinho. Wow!

Willian is the only Chelsea player in the Brazilian squad as David Luiz misses out once again, and Chelsea’s Brazilian contingent has reduced over the years due to the departures of Oscar and Ramires. Still, we hope Willian is able to carry his club form to his national team and make us proud!

Germany vs Spain

Date / Time: Friday, March 23, 2018; 19:45 GMT, 15:45 EST, 01:15 IST (the next day)

Venue: Esprit Arena, Düsseldorf, Germany

Referee: William Collum (SCO)

Forecast: Party cloudy with temperatures around 11°C (51° F)

On TV: BT Sport 3 (UK), ESPN3 (USA), Sony Ten 2/HD (India); elsewhere

The biggest match of the week comes in the form of Germany vs. Spain as the World Cup winners from 2014 and 2010 (respectively) play against each other. With both countries looking to gain as much momentum before the World Cup as possible, this match may prove to be an affair with more implications than a normal friendly.

Germany, whose Chelsea representative will be Antonio Rüdiger, are currently on a 21-match unbeaten run which included them winning all of their ten World Cup qualification games. They’re only the second team to do so after their opposition for the night Spain (in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers).

Meanwhile, Marcos Alonso makes his debut for Spain as other Chelsea players such as Cesc Fàbregas, Pedro and Álvaro Morata miss out. But he will be joined by Blues vice-captain César Azpilicueta.

Argentina vs Italy

Date / Time: Friday, March 23, 2018; 19:45 GMT, 15:45 EST, 01:15 IST (the next day)

Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England

Referee: Martin Atkinson (ENG)

Forecast: Rain is expected. In England. Are you surprised? Expected temperature around 10°C (50°F) with 70% humidity

On TV: none (UK), beIN SPORTS (USA), Sony Ten 1/HD (India); elsewhere

The next match on the list is the second biggest of them all as serial final losers Argentina take on four-time World Cup winners Italy. For Italy, this is one of the biggest matches they will play for a while as the Azzurri have failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958, after losing 1-0 to Sweden in the qualifiers.

For Italy, Chelsea will be represented by Davide Zappacosta. Meanwhile on Argentina’s side, Chelsea goalkeeper and penalty “kryptonite” Wilfredo Caballero, is going to be the man to watch, if he starts (and he should!).

Netherlands vs England

Date / Time: Friday, March 23, 2018; 19:45 GMT, 15:45 EST, 01:15 IST (the next day)

Venue: Johan Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano (ESP)

Forecast: Mostly cloudy with temperature around 9°C (49°F)

On TV: ITV (UK), none (USA), none (India); elsewhere

Any England match holds a lot of significance as it’s the home of the club we support, Chelsea. But this time these friendlies hold a little less significance since for the first time in years, not even a single Chelsea player has made it to the English squad. For Netherlands, who share similar fate to Italy as a big team who missed out on a World Cup spot, ex-Chelsea players Patrick van Aanholt and Nathan Aké have made the cut. That’s akin to putting salt on the wound, for God’s sake!

Poland vs Nigeria

Date / Time: Friday, March 23, 2018; 19:45 GMT, 15:45 EST, 01:15 IST (the next day)

Venue: Municipal Stadium, Wroclaw, Poland

Referee: Michael Oliver (ENG)

Forecast: Cloudy with temperatures around 4°C (40°F)

On TV: none (UK), beIN SPORTS (USA), none (India); elsewhere

You wouldn’t be at fault if you had forgotten that Poland will play Nigeria on Friday as well. The match is at the same time as Germany vs. Spain, Argentina vs. Italy and Netherlands vs. England and might end up being the least watched because of these several reasons. The match will take place in Poland as the 6th-ranked hosts take on three-time African champions Nigeria.

Our starting right wing-back Victor Moses will be representing Chelsea in this matchup along with loanee Ola Aina, who was called up too. They will be joined by another Chelsea loanee in defender Kenneth Omeruo, who was added to the squad for the friendlies as well. And last, but not least, we shall see former Blue and Champions League winner John Mikel Obi leading the Super Eagles.

Good news all around!

France vs Colombia

Date / Time: Friday, 23 March, 2018; 20:00 GMT, 16:00 EST, 01:30 IST (the next day)

Venue: Stade de France, Paris, France

Referee: Adrien Jaccottet (SUI)

Forecast: Showers are expected with temperatures to be around 8°C (46°F)

On TV: none (UK), ESPN3 (USA), Sony Six HD and Sony Ten 1/HD (India); elsewhere

To wrap up today’s list (phew!), 9th-ranked France host 13th-ranked Colombia in what promises to be a battle of attack and flair. France are one of the favourites of the World Cup as they have one of the strongest squads in the world right now. Couple that with their Euros experience where they reached the Final, it’ll be difficult to write them off.

For Chelsea, our twins N’Golo & Kanté and our model turned striker Olivier Giroud will be the club representatives. Unfortunately, Tiemoué Bakayoko’s injury and terrible form sees him miss out and he’ll have to turn his fortune around quickly if he wants to go to Russia, as France seems to be stacked in midfield — much like every other position which is not named “fullback”.

These friendlies seem to be quite interesting and hopefully are able to satisfy our hunger for football in the absence of club matches. There are, of course, other interesting matches matches like China vs Wales, Uruguay vs Czech Republic et al but they had very little to do with the present Chelsea squad and hence, aren’t included in the article.

As such, that’s all folks! And stay alert for the round-ups!

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