Qualification for the 2020 European Championships steps up a notch over the next week, with 11 Chelsea players set to feature for their national teams in decisive matches across the continent.
The final tournament takes place next summer across 12 cities in 12 different countries, with qualification set to run until the end of November before the play-offs in March. The top two from each of the 10 groups will qualify automatically, with four play-off spots also up for grabs for teams that fail to advance.
However, unlike previous editions, the participants of the play-offs will not be determined based on results in qualifying. Instead, a team from each of the four leagues in the UEFA Nations League will be allocated a place at Euro 2020.
READ: EURO 2020 QUALIFIERS - SETTING THE SCENE
With the stakes rising, we bring you up to date with how things stand for the Chelsea contingent during this first international break of the season.
Leading the way
Gareth Southgate’s side have six points from six in Group A following back-to-back five-goal wins, 5-0 against Czech Republic at Wembley and 5-1 away in Montenegro, both back in March.
Ross Barkley and Callum Hudson-Odoi have already featured for the team who finished third in the Nations League, while Mason Mount could make his international debut if selected in upcoming qualifiers against Bulgaria on Saturday and Kosovo on Tuesday.
The Three Lions are guaranteed at least a play-off place due to their Nations League performance, though they will be hoping to secure qualification via the traditional route and continue their 100 per cent record over the coming days.
The Red Devils currently sit top of a group containing Russia and Scotland, with four wins from four games and only one goal conceded. Chelsea players past and present have been prominent in their qualification campaign so far, with Michy Batshuayi netting in a 2-0 away win in Cyprus in March.
Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne have also been among the goals for Roberto Martinez’s flawless Belgians, who travel to San Marino on Friday and Scotland on Monday.
Kepa Arrizabalaga has started the past three qualifiers as La Roja advance impressively towards the final tournament. The 24-year-old kept clean sheets against Malta in March, a game in which Alvaro Morata bagged a brace, and Sweden in June as he was preferred to David de Gea between the sticks.
The Spaniards could effectively secure qualification over the next few days as they travel to Romania on Thursday before hosting Faroe Islands on Sunday.
Group H is intriguingly balanced at the top as France, Turkey and Iceland all sit on nine points after four matches, the top three having all taken points off each other thus far. While N’Golo Kante misses out of upcoming qualifiers against Albania and Andorra due to injury, both Kurt Zouma and Olivier Giroud will be hoping to feature for Didier Deschamps’s side, the latter having scored twice so far in the campaign and Zouma after rounding off the scoring last time out.
Italy missed out on involvement at the World Cup last summer so there is plenty for Roberto Mancini’s side to prove this time around and they have certainly made the right early impression, winning four out of four.
Jorginho has played every game in midfield, while Emerson’s strong end to the season at club level saw him involved in the June qualifiers. Both will be hoping to feature again away to Armenia on Thursday and Finland on Sunday.
Mateo Kovacic may have withdrawn from the Croatian squad through injury but Mario Pasalic could be involved again for the World Cup runners-up after coming off the bench in June’s 2-1 win over Wales. They are currently third in Group E after a narrow defeat to Hungary in Budapest and will be looking to take control of their destiny with qualifiers away to Slovakia on Friday and Azerbaijan on Monday.
The Danes sit second in Group D, trailing unbeaten leaders Republic of Ireland by five points following two draws in their opening three qualifiers. They are yet to keep a clean sheet, a statistic that Andreas Christensen (pictured above) will be hoping to rectify in the coming days in meetings with Gibraltar and Georgia. The 23-year-old missed the opening 3-3 draw in Switzerland but has since returned to the centre of defence in the past two matches.
After involvement at Euro 2016 and the World Cup in Russia, Wales’s hopes of a third successive major tournament are currently in danger after a slow start in Group E. Ryan Giggs’s side got off to a decent start with a 1-0 win over Slovakia in Cardiff but have since lost in Croatia and Hungary, leaving them fourth and three points off the top-two pace.
These next two home qualifiers will be crucial to their chances of making the cut for next summer’s tournament, with Azerbaijan and Belarus the opponents. Ethan Ampadu is back in the squad and looking to retain his place in central midfield, the position he lined up in against Hungary last time out.
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