Just after the conclusion of matchday 2 in the Bundesliga, the first international break of the season is here. Eight FCA players have been named in their respective national squads.
The Austrian trio of Martin Hinteregger, Michael Gregoritsch and Kevin Danso will hope to help their country reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia with their selection. The Marcel Koller lead squad are in fourth place in group D, and have to get points from their games against Wales on Saturday 2nd September and Georgia on Tuesday 5th September to stand any chance of qualifying. Alfred Finnbogason and Iceland stand better chances, and have the opportunity to stay in second place in group I with wins against Finland on Saturday 2nd September and Ukraine on Tuesday 5th September. For Iceland, qualifying for the World Cup for the first time will be another fantastic achievement, after reaching the quarter final in the European Championships last year.
Greece are also in second place in their World Cup qualification group, and Konstantinos Stafylidis has been named in the squad for their upcoming games. With victories against Estonia on Thursday 31st August and group leaders Belgium on Wednesday 3rd September, their qualification for the World Cup will essentially be set in stone. Swiss qualification is almost a formality as well, as they clearly lead the table with 18 points from six games. Their next two fixtures are against fairly easy opponents in the form of Andorra on Thursday 31st August and Latvia on Sunday 3rd September. FCA goalkeeper Marwin Hitz was again selected for the squad.
Crucial games for South Korea
Outside of Europe, two FCA players are also involved in World Cup qualifiers. For South Korea, Ja-Cheol Koo is included in a squad that faces critical games against Iran on Thursday 31st August and Uzbekistan on Tuesday 5th September. Uli Stielike’s team will confirm qualification with victories in those two games. Newly transferred Sergio Córdova and Venezuela have no such chance to qualify for the finals, as they sit bottom of the south American qualification table. However, they will be hoping to get some points from two tough games against Colombia on Thursday 31st August and Argentina on Tuesday 5th September, and regain some sort of consolation.