International football returns this week with thoughts turning to Brazil, as the European round of qualification for the 2014 World Cup gets underway.
Roy Hodgson has called six Chelsea players into his squad as England look to bounce back from a disappointing Euro 2012 campaign with games against Moldova and Ukraine.
John Terry returns to the fold having been rested for the recent friendly win against Italy, while Frank Lampard, Gary Cahill and Daniel Sturridge are also included.
Ryan Bertrand, who made his debut against the Italians, coming on as a second-half substitute for Everton’s Leighton Baines, has also been rewarded for his impressive start to the season with a second successive call-up.
Cole has been ruled out of the Moldova game after picking up a minor ankle injury and will be assessed by the England medical team ahead of next week’s Ukraine clash.
The left-back, currently on 98 caps, will now have to wait to become the first England full-back to break the 100-cap barrier.
England and Ukraine will be familiar with each other having met in the group stage of Euro 2012, when Wayne Rooney scored the only goal of the game and Terry made an acrobatic clearance off the line late in the match to ensure England topped the group.
Eden Hazard, meanwhile, so influential during the first month of the new campaign, has been included in the Belgium squad for their double-header against Wales and Croatia.
The 21-year-old, who scored his first Chelsea goal from the penalty spot in the recent 4-2 win against Reading, will link up with his teammates – which include on-loan Blues trio Thibaut Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku – ahead of their opening qualifier in Cardiff.
The last time Fernando Torres played in a competitive match for Spain, he scored one goal and laid another on for Juan Mata as the world champions swept Italy aside 4-0 in the final of Euro 2012.
The striker, who has started the season well, scoring two goals in our opening three league games, as well as one in the Community Shield, will be hoping to continue his recent run of form when Spain entertain Saudi Arabia in a friendly, before making the trip to take on Georgia in their opening World Cup qualifier.
Mata, after competing in both the European Championships and Olympic Games over the course of the summer, has been rested for this particular round of fixtures.
Our most recent acquisition, Victor Moses, is part of the Nigeria squad ahead of their match against Liberia.
Raul Meireles, whose Portugal side were eliminated from Euro 2012 by Spain on penalties, will join up with his national side ahead of an away game against Luxembourg and a home clash with Azerbaijan.
Petr Cech, meanwhile, will expect to be heavily involved as Czech Republic begin their qualification campaign with a trip to Denmark, before entertaining Finland three days later, while Branislav Ivanovic should come up against a few familiar faces when he lines up for Serbia against both Scotland and Wales.
As hosts, Brazil qualify automatically for the competition, although David Luiz, Ramires and Oscar will all be on duty when they play friendlies against both South Africa and China over a three-day period.
International involvement, however, isn’t restricted to just first team members, with a number of our younger players also being called up by their respective nations.
After a disappointing Olympic campaign in which the Spain side suffered a shock early exit at the group stage, Oriol Romeu will be hoping for an improvement when he joins up with Spain Under-21s for their matches against Switzerland and Croatia.
Josh McEachran, currently in the midst of a season-long loan spell at Middlesbrough in the Championship, will hope to be involved for England Under-21s as they take on Azerbaijan and Norway, while Tomas Kalas, enjoying a second successive season at Vitesse Arnhem, has been called up by Czech Republic Under-21s.
Nathaniel Chalobah, who last week made a loan switch to Watford, has been called up by England Under-19s for their game against Germany, while his teammates Alex Davey and Islam Feruz will hope to play some part after being drafted into the Scotland Under-19 squad for their match against the Netherlands.
Conor Clifford, in the middle of a loan spell at Portsmouth, is part of the Republic of Ireland Under-21 squad as their campaign gets underway with a trip to Hungary, before another away game next week, this time against Italy.
Belgian duo Thorgan Hazard, who last week joined SV Zulte Waregem on loan, and Lamisha Musonda are part of the Belgium Under-21 squad for their games against Norway and Iceland, while Musonda’s younger brother, Tika, has been called up to the Belgium Under 19s.
Nathan Ake, who played in our Under 21s’ 5-0 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the weekend, has been called into the Netherlands Under-19 squad for their games against Greece and Scotland.
Isak Ssewankambo will join up with the Sweden Under-17 squad as they prepare to face Scotland.
There has already been some action involving our players. Charlie Colkett, a midfielder from our Academy, scored England’s second goal in a 3-2 defeat against Italy in the opening match of the St Georges Park International Under-17 tournament, a result they followed up with a 4-1 win over Turkey before losing 1-0 to Portugal in the final game.
Alex Kiwomya, Connor Hunte and Ola Aina were also part of the England squad for the competition with all, aside from Aina, featuring at various points.
Elsewhere, Andreas Christensen was the hero for Denmark Under-17s, scoring both goals as they beat Georgia 2-1 to lift the Syrenka Cup, an eight-nation tournament involving the likes of Ukraine, Greece, Northern Ireland and hosts Poland.