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02.06.2007 10:52

Barça players on international duty

Miriam Nadal

No fewer than 13 members of the FC Barcelona squad are away on international duty this week, and will be appearing in an assortment of qualifying matches for official tournaments and friendlies.

Several Barça players will be featuring in Euro 2008 qualifiers, namely Xavi, Iniesta and Puyol for Spain, Lilian Thuram for France, Gudjohnsen for Iceland, Deco for Portugal and Zambrotta for Italy, although he has not been picked for Saturday’s games with the Faeroe Islands.

863021652.jpgFrance-Ukraine: Lilian Thuram’s France are paired in the same group as Zambrotta’s Italy along with Ukraine, Scotland, Georgia, the Faeroe Islands and Lithuania. France are currently third on the same points as Scotland and Ukraine, but have played one game less than the Scots. So, this is one of the most interesting matches of the day, with France having won four out of five, losing only to Scotland on October 7. The game kicks off at 21.00 in the Stade de France in Paris, and will be refereed by Spaniard Medina Cantalejo.

Faeroe Islands-Italy: Gianluca Zambrotta will not be playing in the world champion’s game on Saturday. He is in the squad, but is still having problems with the knee injury that kept him out of last week’s game with Getafe. Manager Roberto Donadoni has preferred to rest him ahead of Wednesday’s game with Lithuania. The Faeroes are the weakest side in the group, having lost every game, conceding 23 goals and scoring just one in the process.

iniesta.jpgLatvia-Spain: Luis Aragonés’ side is currently third in Group F with 9 points, and is lagging behind Northern Ireland on 13 and Sweden on 12. All three of Xavi, Puyol and Iniesta are expected to play tonight in Riga. Andrés Iniesta will probably be playing just behind Valencia striker David Villa. The game kicks off at 21.30.

Belgium-Portugal: Before flying to Kuwait for a friendly on June 5, Deco’s Portugal have a crunch Euro 2008 qualifier with Belgium, a side that, after losing to Poland, really needs the points here to keep their hopes of making the finals in Switzerland and Austria alive. Kick off in Brussels is at 20.45.

Iceland-Liechtenstein: Eidur Gudjohnsen and his colleagues are in the same Group F as Spain. They are currently joint bottom of the group with today’s rivals, and have very little hope of making the finals. Both these sides have won just one of the five games played to date, and Iceland have scored just four goals and conceded nine.

Other games

61708.jpgSamuel Eto'o will be appearing for Cameroon at noon on Sunday in a qualifier for the Ghana 2008 African Nations Cup. The indomitable lions have won every match in their group so far.

Leo Messi and Javier Saviola are in Basle to represent Argentina in a friendly against Switzerland. Argentinian manager Alfio Basile has revealed that he is going to try playing with three strikers in Messi, Tevez and Crespo.

Finally, Gio Van Brockhorst is in Seoul to play for Holland in a friendly against South Korea.
Barça players on international duty

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