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Internationals preview: November fixtures

A total of 16 City stars have jetted off around the globe to resume national team duties.

For many of our European based players, the focus has switched to the European Championship 2016 Qualifiers, but for Yaya Toure and Ivory Coast crunch time has arrived in the Africa Cup of Nations.

It was announced on Tuesday that Morocco will not host the 2015 finals but the tournament is scheduled to go ahead, and now Yaya and the Elephants must ensure they book their place with victory in the last two games of qualifying.

Ivory Coast face Sierra Leone in Abidjan on Friday, followed by Cameroon, who top qualifying Group D, on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Toure’s side find themselves third in the group behind DR Congo with the two games remaining, knowing that only the top two will automatically progress to the finals.

More locally, Willy Caballero will be hoping to make his senior Argentina debut when La Albiceleste take on Croatia at Upton Park on Wednesday.

The stopper has been called up for the first time alongside compatriots Sergio Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta and Martin Demichelis for the friendly double header, which also includes a clash with Portugal at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening.

Willy is hoping to make the most of his opportunity, and said: “For an Argentinian to play for his country means everything – we have so much pride and passion. To be able to show the love we have for our sport and wear the country’s shirt is the best thing in the world.”

Former Blue Carlos Tevez has also been welcomed back into the fold.

Jason Denayer is also hoping to win his first senior Belgium cap in Wednesday’s friendly encounter with Iceland in Brussels. The Celtic loanee could start in place of City teammate Vincent Kompany.

The national team captain has been ruled out of the match, but has been pencilled in for a return to fitness in time for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Wales in the Belgian capital on Sunday.

A pair of fixtures sure to catch the eye of City fans both feature Sweden and the recalled John Guidetti. The young striker has received his first senior call up for two years following an impressive goals record at Celtic alongside Denayer. 

Guidetti could face City teammate Stevan Jovetic when Sweden face Montenegro in a Euro qualifying clash in Podgorica on Saturday. The Montenegrins have taken a total of four points from their opening trio of games and will be hoping to boost their hopes of progression with victory at the weekend.

Meanwhile, Bacary Sagna and Eliaquim Mangala could be tasked with keeping Guidetti quiet in a friendly encounter on Tuesday. France automatically qualify for the finals as hosts so face no competitive action this week. However, they will prepare for the meeting with the Swedes by taking on Albania on Friday as Les Bleus continue their own preparations for the tournament.

Mangala will be hoping to add to his four international caps.

England’s no.1 Joe Hart will be aiming to get two steps closer to his 50th cap this international break – the Three Lions take on Slovenia in a Euro qualifier on Saturday evening at Wembley before facing Scotland in a friendly on Tuesday.

James Milner is another City man hoping to make the starting XI against the Slovenians as Group E’s top two face off in London. England have earned maximum points from their opening three encounters and will want to extend that record ahead of Tuesday’s clash north of the border.

Serbian duo Aleks Kolarov and Matija Nastasic are both hoping to be involved in their European qualifier with Denmark in Belgrade on Friday night. However, Kolarov is facing a race against time to be passed as fit for the clash with the group leaders. Serbia themselves have a single point but have only played one match so far.

A friendly against Greece on Tuesday concludes their international calendar for 2014.

Brazil continue their rebuilding after the World Cup with a friendly against Turkey in Istanbul on Wednesday before flying to Vienna to face Austria in front of a sell-out 48,000 crowd at the Ernst Happel Stadium.

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Fernandinho has been selected as part of Dunga’s third squad since returning as the Selecao boss.

One City player forced to sit out the international fixtures is Edin Dzeko, who has been officially ruled unavailable for Bosnia’s crucial European Qualifier with Israel.

His side are desperate for a victory after recording two points from three games, but will be without their captain and top scorer which hasn’t filled manager Safet Susic with much confidence.

Susic told Bosnia’s FENA news agency:  'If Dzeko can't play we will be resigned to playing for a draw against Israel because we have no hope of winning without him.”

We’ll be keeping you up to date with all of our international stars and how they get on over the next week, starting with Wednesday’s late edition of #cityblog.

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