Internationals take centre stage

Several West Ham United players are gearing up for a busy weekend of international action.

Chief among them will be fit-again Freddie Ljungberg who will hope to lead out Sweden against Spain in Madrid on Saturday. The Scandinavian nation conclude their campaign at home to Latvia on Wednesday and need just a point from either game to make certain of one of their group's two qualifying places for next summer's finals.

Also hoping to make it to Austria and Switzerland is Christian Dailly, with the defender named in the Scotland squad for Saturday's decider against Italy at Hampden Park. Victory in their final qualifying fixture would take them through to the finals but a defeat would hand the initiative to Azzurri, who would then have a game to play against the Faroe Islands. Dailly is due to return from a loan spell at Southampton on 24 November.

While Robert Green and Dean Ashton are both not involved for England in their crunch EURO 2008 qualifier against Croatia next Wednesday, they will be hoping Steve McClaren's men are able to qualify in the hope of ultimately claiming a squad place at the finals. Meanwhile, Mark Noble's hernia operation has ruled him out of the Under-21 side's two qualifying fixtures for the 2009 European Championship.

The EURO 2008 dream is probably beyond George McCartney's Northern Ireland as they lie five and six points adrift of Spain and Sweden respectively before facing Denmark and the Spanish on Saturday and Wednesday. Wales, who definitely cannot qualify, are without Craig Bellamy for their home match against the Republic of Ireland on Saturday and the trip to Germany four days later. However, Danny Gabbidon and James Collins are involved while young midfielder Jack Collison was selected for the Under-21 side in their two matches against Bosnia-Herzegovina and France.

Lucas Neill will not have too far to travel for Australia when he lines up against Nigeria in a friendly staged by Fulham on Saturday. The fixture is being seen by the Socceroos as a warm-up for their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign, which gets under way in February. Nolberto Solano has already started on the road to the finals in South Africa, playing twice last month for his country. He now has the small matter of Brazil's visit to Lima on Sunday - before the trip to Ecuador three days later.

John Pantsil has been called up by Ghana, the hosts of next January and February's African Cup of Nations, for a four-team friendly tournament involving Togo, Benin and the United Arab Emirates while Henri Camara's Senegal will take on Mali and Morocco in France on Saturday and Wednesday respectively.  Finally, Jonathan Spector was with the United States for their friendly in South Africa on Saturday.