International

Internationals: Who’s playing where

There are two weeks to go until the start of the new season, but many of the Chelsea players will be in action for their national teams before then.

Some countries are approaching a whole year without a fixture due to the Covid-19 pandemic and much of the world’s international football is still on hiatus. However, European teams are back in action in early September for the start of the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League group stage, with several Chelsea players likely to be involved.

Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham will be looking to help England get off to a good start after finishing third in the last Nations League. The Three Lions begin with a chance of revenge as they travel to Iceland, the country which inflicted a shock defeat on them at the last European Championship, on Saturday (5 September). They then visit Denmark on Tuesday 8 September.

The Danes have Andreas Christensen in their squad, who was a key player as they earned promotion to League A last time around. There will likely be more familiar faces among his opposition in their first game in the top division, at home on Saturday against a Belgium side featuring several former Blues.

The team who came second to Denmark in League B last time around, Wales, have Ethan Ampadu in their squad as they attempt to go one better, when they begin their 2020/21 campaign away in Finland on Thursday and then host Bulgaria in Cardiff three days later.

Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner are both in the Germany squad which starts their Nations League campaign against Spain on Thursday in Stuttgart, at the same stadium Rudiger and Werner were previously team-mates at the start of their careers. They then face 2019 semi-finalists Switzerland away on Sunday.

Kepa Arrizabalaga will be hoping to face them in that first fixture following his call-up for Spain, before they host Ukraine three days later. Jorginho is in the Italy squad which will take on Bosnia and Herzegovina in Florence on Friday before travelling to Amsterdam to play the Netherlands next Monday.

World champions France have named N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud in their squad. Giroud will be eager to edge closer to the 100-cap mark when they travel to Sweden for a game on Saturday and welcome Croatia to Paris next Tuesday. He is currently on 97.

Mateo Kovacic is in the Croatia squad which faces a tough opening to their tournament in League A. Three days before that rematch against the team which defeated them in the World Cup final in 2018, they face the inaugural Nations League champions Portugal in the same Estadio do Dragao venue in Porto where they lifted the trophy a little over a year ago.

Teenage striker Armando Broja, who is on loan at Vitesse Arnhem for 2020/21, has been called up to the senior Albania squad for the first time, having previously represented them at youth level. He will be hoping to have a double celebration by making his international debut ahead of his birthday. They face Belarus away on Friday and Lithuania at home next Monday, the latter match falling three days before he turns 19.

There are also qualifying matches taking place for next year’s UEFA Under-21 Championship, with no less than four Chelsea players called up to the England squad at that level. Callum Hudson-Odoi, Conor Gallagher and Marc Guehi are all part of the team that travels to Kosovo for a game on Friday and then Austria next Tuesday. Reece James was called up but has withdrawn. The Young Lions sit joint top of their group, with a game in hand over closest challengers Austria, after winning all four fixtures so far.

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