World Cup moves into focus

The conclusion of Euro 2008 has focused minds on the 2010 World Cup qualifiers with many of the West Ham United squad dreaming of making it to South Africa.

Lucas Neill, Jonathan Spector and John Pantsil are all up and running already with Australia, Ghana and the United States each flying in their respective qualifying zones. Neill's Australia and Spector's US have made it through the first stages in Asia and North and Central America already while Pantsil's Ghana are top of their section in Africa. The club's European contingent will get under way from September with the UEFA qualifying campaign although Freddie Ljungberg will not be involved after the Sweden captain retired from international football.

Robert Green, Matthew Upson, Kieron Dyer, Scott Parker and Dean Ashton have all been capped before and will have ambitions of being part of Fabio Capello's set-up. Green, Upson and Ashton have caught the Italian coach's eye previously and may figure in the 20 August friendly against the Czech Republic. In qualifying Group 6, England have been drawn with Croatia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Andorra - getting started against the latter nation in Barcelona on 6 September before travelling to Euro 2008 rivals Croatia four days later. Under-21 regular Mark Noble will also feel he could play some part in the qualifying campaign.

Julien Faubert's stop-start first season at West Ham United hampered his Euro 2008 hopes but he will surely be aiming for the World Cup. The flying winger made his Les Bleus debut against Bosnia-Herzegovina two summers ago and scored the last-gasp winner in a 2-1 victory that was also memorable for him being the first to wear the No10 after Zinedine Zidane's retirement. Whether Faubert will prove his fitness in time for the friendly away to Sweden on 20 August remains to be seen but he will target the qualifying Group 7, alongside Serbia, Romania, Austria, Lithuania and the Faroe Islands. It all gets started in Austria on 6 September.

James Collins, Danny Gabbidon, Jack Collison and captain Craig Bellamy are all set to be instrumental to the principality's hopes of following up a strong Euro 2008 qualifying performance. Defensive duo Collins and Gabbidon are hopeful of joining Collison and Bellamy for the start of qualifying Group 4 at home to Azerbaijan on 6 September but the pool also boasts Germany, Russia, Finland and Liechtenstein. Wales will prepare with a friendly at home to Georgia on 20 August although Collison may find himself on Under-21 duty as the country are riding high in qualifying for the 2009 Euro with the reserve-team captain a key part of the squad.

Northern Ireland
George McCartney has been a fixture for Nigel Worthington since returning to international football last August. The left-back played every game for his club last season and will be eager to do so again next time for his country as well in qualifying Group 3. The country have been drawn with the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and San Marino. Their first match will be away to the Slovakians on 6 September although there is a friendly in Scotland on 20 August. With the finals two years away, the Northern Irish squad's fortunes will also interest highly-rated youth-team midfielder Daniel Kearns, who turns 17 on 26 August.