International duties take centre stage this weekend for
many West Ham United players, as the latest round of European
Championship qualifiers and play-off matches get underway.
Tomorrow night (Friday) will see Hammers captain Nigel Reo-Coker and defender Anton Ferdinand in action for the England under-21s, as the young Lions face Germany at the Ricoh Arena, home of Championship side Coventry City, in the first leg of the UEFA European U21 Championship play-off (kick-off 8pm).
Peter Taylor's team beat Switzerland to top their group and secure their play-off place against the Germans. Nigel is expected to lead the team out as skipper, while Anton is hoping to have recovered from his hamstring injury to play a part.
On Saturday, several more Hammers will be playing for their countries as the senior sides look to make progress in the Euro 2008 qualifiers.
Danny Gabbidon will be in action for Wales at the Millennium Stadium, as the Welsh take on Slovakia in Group D (kick-off 3pm), but defensive partner and fellow countryman James Collins will be sitting this match out with the groin injury that kept him out of Hammers' defeat against Reading on Sunday.
Later that afternoon, Yossi Benayoun is also set to lead his country out, as Israel take on Russia at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Moscow (kick-off 4pm). Yossi will be hoping to shake off a leg injury he sustained against Reading, and help his team grab another victory in Group E, where they are currently joint top of the table alongside England with six points.
Christian Dailly will be donning the blue shirt of Scotland as they take on World Cup finalists France at Hampden Park (kick-off 5pm). Dailly, who scored in Scotland's 2-1 win over Lithuania last month, will be hoping to help the Scots retain their top place in the league table of Group B, which they share with Saturday's opponents.
And Roy Carroll will be in action for Northern Ireland as they take on Denmark at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen (kick-off 8pm). The Irish are currently in fifth place in Group F, with three points.
by Laura Burkin