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International break: Fernandinho’s Brazil 2014 audition

world cup ladder 2014

world cup ladder 2014

There are 100 days to go until World Cup 2014 and final preparations are in focus this week, with the first international break of the calendar year.

Securing seats on planes to Brazil this summer will be the motivation for most of City’s first-team squad as they scatter across the globe.

The City man with the most air miles to cover is arguably the player with the most to gain from this round of friendlies.

Fernandinho won his recall to the Brazil squad in the nick of time after nearly two years in the international wilderness and he’ll be hoping to capitalise on Lucas Leiva’s injury and impress in the friendly against South Africa in Johannesburg.

It’s the last friendly before Luiz Felipe Scolari names his 23-man squad for the tournament on home soil, so it will be fascinating to see if the Londrina-born midfielder can replicate his club form in the famous canary yellow of the Seleção.

If he plays a part, it will be his first appearance for Brazil since February 2012.

The World champions will also be in action on Wednesday in a mouthwatering exhibition match against Italy at Estadio Vincente Calderon in Madrid.

It’s a repeat of the Euro 2012 final and Spain's David Silva, Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo will all hope to be involved at some point in the encounter.

Juan Mata and Fernando Torres were both omitted from Vincente del Bosque’s squad, while there was a call-up for Atletico frontman Diego Costa, who could debut for Spain in his club stadium.

All eyes will also be on Emyr Huws, who could make his Wales debut in Wednesday’s friendly against Iceland.

Huws won February Player of the Month for Birmingham City, the latest achievement in his impressive loan spell at St Andrews, and he’s hoping that a first senior cap will come his way in the friendly at Cardiff City Stadium.

"I was chuffed to get the call," Huws told BBC Sport.

"It's good to be with the lads and around the squad, so I'm delighted.

Hopefully I can get on and get my first cap - that would be a great achievement for me.

...Emyr Huws...


Another City youngster with a chance to make history is under-18s winger, Bersant Celina.

The 17-year old is in the Kosovo senior squad for their first-ever FIFA-sanctioned match which will be against Haiti in Mitrovica.

Elsewhere, Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta could come up against teammate Costel Pantilimon in Bucharest.

Both Argentine players are virtually guaranteed places in Alejandro Sabella’s squad after playing pivotal roles in South American qualifying, while Costel will be hoping to catch coach Victor Piturca's eye with Euro 2016 qualifying coming up after the summer.

Two more City players who could be on opposing sides in midweek are Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure as Belgium meet the Ivory Coast in Brussels.

Meanwhile, Joe Hart and James Milner will be back at Wembley for England’s friendly against Denmark.

Like Aguero and Zabaleta, the pair are firm favourites of their national team manager and can probably be considered as shoe-ins for the final squad.

Edin Dzeko is another who, injury pending, is a dead cert for the World Cup. The Bosnian is in Innsbruck where the Dragons take on Egypt.

It’s a short trip in prospect for Aleksandar Kolarov as Serbia take on Republic of Ireland in Dublin. Matija Nastasic misses out through injury.

Finally, on-loan defender Karim Rekik is in the Netherlands squad for their match against France in Paris on Wednesday.

France boss Didier Deschamps surprisingly left both Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri out of his squad for the game.

We’ll have a full international round-up on mcfc.co.uk when the dust has settled and live updates from the games on our official Twitter account.

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