International call-ups galore



  • Adrian receives first-ever senior Spain call-up, James Collins is set to earn his 50th Wales cap
  • Havard Nordtveit and Martin Samuelsen included in Norway squad
  • Enner Valencia's Ecuador face Brazil and Peru in South American World Cup qualifying

Adrian, James Collins, Dimitri Payet, Enner Valencia, Havard Nordtveit and Martin Samuelsen have all been called up by their respective nations for 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Goalkeeper Adrian has been included in the Spain squad for the first time for a friendly with Belgium in Brussels on Thursday 1 September and the opening World Cup qualifying Group G fixture at home to Liechtenstein in Leon on Monday 5 September.

The No13, who was a stand-by for UEFA Euro 2016, is named alongside Manchester United's David de Gea and Napoli's former Liverpool stopper Pepe Reina.

Collins has been named in the Wales squad for their opening 2018 FIFA World Cup Group D qualifier with Moldova.

The West Ham United centre-half is in Chris Coleman’s 23-man selection for the tie, which will take place at Cardiff City Stadium on 5 September at 7.45pm BST. Should he feature, Newport-born Collins will earn his 50th cap for his country.

The defender, who turned 33 on Tuesday, helped Wales to reach the semi-finals of UEFA Euro 2016, where they were edged out by eventual winners Portugal.

The Dragons have not reached the World Cup finals since 1958, when they reached the quarter-finals in Sweden.

However, following their recent success, Coleman, Collins and company will be hopeful of qualifying from a group that also includes Austria, Georgia – both of whom Wales face in October – Serbia and Darren Randolph’s Republic of Ireland.

Martin O’Neill has yet to name the Irish squad for the Boys in Green’s opening qualifier against Serbia in Belgrade on Monday 5 December. Ireland also host Oman in a warm-up fixture at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday 31 August.

Norway pair Nordtveit and Samuelsen have arguably the toughest opening qualifying job on their hands, as they host Germany at the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo on Sunday 4 September. To prepare for the visit of the Germans, Belarus will visit the same venue on 31 August.

Nordtveit has 28 caps and two goals to his name, while Samuelsen made his senior debut against Iceland in June – both will hope Norway can emerge from a Group C that also includes Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and San Marino.

Elsewhere, Dimitri Payet is in France manager Didier Deschamps’ selection for a friendly with Italy in Bari on Thursday 1 September and their opening World Cup Group A qualifier against Belarus in Borisov on Tuesday 6 September.

France face a tough qualifying campaign, with the Netherlands, Sweden, Bulgaria and Luxembourg also vying for one automatic qualifying place.

Angelo Ogbonna’s Italy will continue on from Bari to Haifa, where they will take on Israel in their own Group G opener on 5 September.

To complete the European picture, Gokhan Tore is recalled to the Turkey squad for a home friendly with Russia in Antalya on 31 August before making the relatively short trip to Croatia for their opening World Cup Group I qualifier in Zagreb on 5 September.

Further afield, Enner Valencia has been called up by Ecuador for mouth-watering fixtures with Brazil in Quito on 1 September and Peru in Lima on 5 September.

Ecuador have made a fantastic start to South American World Cup qualifying, winning four of their opening six fixtures to sit second to Uruguay only on goal difference. The top four will automatically reach Russia 2018.

In Africa, World Cup qualification Round 3 does not commence until October, but Cheikhou Kouyate’s Senegal will be in action in 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying instead.

The Lions of Teranga host Namibia in their final Group K fixture, having already won five out of five to cement their place in Gabon in January.

Elsewhere, Sofiane Feghouli’s Algeria have also secured qualification from Group J with a match to spare, but the winger will miss their closing fixture with Lesotho through injury.

Doneil Henry is travelling across the Atlantic for two vital World Cup qualifiers with Canada. The CONCACAF qualifying campaign is already at the Round 3 stage, and Canada know victory over Honduras in San Pedro Sula on 2 September and El Salvador in Vancouver on 6 September will see them reach Round 4.

At age-group level, Josh Cullen's Republic of Ireland U21s face Slovenia at home and Serbia away in European Championship qualifying, while new boy Edmilison Fernandes is in the Switzerland U21 squad for a European Championship qualifying double-header with Kazakhstan and Bosnia/Herzegovia.

Reece Oxford is in the England U20 squad for a friendly with Brazil in Kidderminster on 4 September, while Declan Rice (Ireland U19s), Rihards Matrevics (Latvia U19s) and Conor Coventry (Ireland U17s) will also be jetting off on international duty.

Finally, former West Ham manager Sam Allardyce will name his first England squad for his opening game in charge – a FIFA World Cup Group F qualifier with Slovakia – on Sunday.