It’s just three weeks until the World Cup starts in Russia, and while the majority of the FCA first team will be kicking back and loving life on holiday, a small portion of the squad will have to put vacation plans on hold and get ready for some international friendlies with their respective countries.
The Germany under-20s squad will be staying in Eppan, Italy, between the 27th and 31st May. The Die Mannschaft youth team will train alongside the first team squad as they prepare for Russia. FCA forward Marco Richter has been called up and will train with the likes of Kroos, Müller and co. Jögi Löw also invited the U20s to train with the first team in 2014, passing on many pieces of advice and tips in the process.
Iceland were the big surprise of Euro 2016, and have qualified for a World Cup for the first time by reaching Russia. The 23-man squad has already been named, though coach Hudmundur Hreidarsson has 12 players in reserves should anything disastrous happen to his original squad. Alfred Finnbogason is already in the final 23 and will face Norway in a friendly on Saturday June 2nd in Reykjavik, before Ghana come to the capital on Thursday June 7 to complete all of the Icelanders’ World Cup preparations. They will face Argentina (June 16th), Nigeria (June 22nd) and Croatia (June 26th) during the group stages in Russia.
Ja-Cheol Koo picked up an injury at home to Mainz and on his own wishes flew home to be treated. Since then, the South Korean national team have dealt with Koo and readied him for the three upcoming friendlies – against Bosnia in Daegu on June 1st, before a game against Bolivia in Innsbruck on June 7th and against Senegal on June 11th.
The final 23-man squad will be revealed on June 4th. South Korea will be in group F alongside Sweden (June 18th), Mexico (June 23rd) and current World Champions Germany on June 27th.
Takashi Usami, currently on loan at Düsseldorf, is in the preliminary World Cup squad for the tournament in Russia and will be available to take part in the first friendly against Ghana on May 30th. The Samurai Blues will also play Switzerland on June 8th before concluding their preparations against Paraguay on June 12th. Japan’s group H pits them against Colombia (June 19th), Senegal (June 24th) and Poland (June 28th).
Unlike for Euro 2016, Austria were unable to get through their qualifying group and make the 2018 World Cup. They will still contest three friendlies, however, with FCA’s Martin Hinteregger and Kevin Danso part of the squad that will face hosts Russia on May 30th, World champions Germany on June 2nd and a Brazil XI on June 10th.