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International Break: Seven Things to Watch



The penultimate international break of the calendar year is here and there are plenty of City stars set to be involved.

With World Cup qualifiers taking place all over the globe, let’s have a look at what’s at stake for our international Blues…

Argentina Expects

Argentine trio Sergio Aguero, Nicolas Otamendi and Pablo Zabaleta are all expected to feature in a CONMEBOL double header against Peru and Paraguay.

New Albiceleste supremo Edgardo Bauza leads his team for the first of the two games in Lima in the early hours of Friday morning before they face Paraguay at home on Wednesday 11 October.

The 2014 World Cup runners-up currently lie in joint-second place in the standings on 15 points, along with Brazil, a point behind Uruguay.

Gundo’s Goal

It’s been a long, long wait for Ilkay Gundogan… to be exact, 330 days have passed he was last included in a Germany squad.

The 25-year old last featured on the international stage in a friendly against France on November 13 – the night of the terror attacks in Paris - before a succession of injuries saw him miss Euro 2016.

Germany began their World Cup defence with a 3-0 win over Norway and they’re up against Czech Republic and Northern Ireland in this next break.

Fernandinho’s Return

Staying in South America, Fernandinho earned a recall for Brazil after sitting out their last set of qualifiers.

A reward for his fine start to the 2016/17 season, the City midfielder will vie for inclusion in games against Bolivia and Venezuela as the Selecao look to strengthen their grip on an automatic qualification berth and rein in leaders Uruguay.

Recovering from an indifferent start, Brazil beat Ecuador 3-0 away from home, thanks to two goals from future City striker Gabriel Jesus, before beating Colombia 2-1 last time out.

Gabriel is once again in the squad and will be hoping for more minutes in Tite’s new-look side.

Spanish Eyes

David Silva and Nolito’s Spain enjoyed a dream start to qualifying, thanks to their 8-0 win over Liechtenstein in September.

In what promises to be one of the most mouthwatering games of this international window, they next face Italy in a repeat of the Euro 2016 Last 16 clash.

Spain lost 2-0 to the Azzurri in Paris and so the prospect of taking revenge will serve as ample motivation for their meeting in Torino on Thursday before they move on to another away game against Albania on Sunday night.

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Southgate’s Bow

It’s been a tumultuous time for the English national team with the departure of Sam Allardyce confirmed last week.

England u21s manager Gareth Southgate is the man charged with leading the team into their next four qualifiers, starting with Malta at Wembley on Saturday evening.

Raheem Sterling was forced to pull out through injury but John Stones and on-loan goalkeeper Joe Hart are both once again named in the squad.

Bravo 2.0

Claudio Bravo makes his return to international duty for their South American World Cup qualifiers.

Chile are outside of the qualifying berths as it stands, lying in seventh place in the standings, but they could climb up into the top four over this next round of games.

The continent’s champions laboured to a defeat and a draw without the goalkeeper in September and will be hoping for better against Ecuador and Peru in games scheduled for Thursday and Wednesday.

Super Eagle

Kelechi Iheanacho will be aiming to add to his three international goals after he joined up with the Super Eagles today.

Nigeria travel to Zambia’s Levy Mwanawasa Stadium on Sunday afternoon for their first World Cup qualifier.

The 20-year old, who celebrated his birthday yesterday, scored the only goal on his last international appearance against Tanzania in September.

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Bacary Sagna’s France take on Bulgaria and the Netherlands, while Aleksandar Kolarov’s Serbia face Moldova and Austria.

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