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Spurs around the world

Many of the lads are in action over the coming week as we reach the final round of qualification matches for next summer's World Cup Finals in South Africa.

Many of the lads are in action over the coming week as we reach the final round of qualification matches for next summer's World Cup Finals in South Africa.

And there are some crackers to keep an eye on - arguably none bigger than Roman Pavlyuchenko's encounter with Germany for Russia in Moscow.

Guus Hiddink's side are one point behind the Germans in Group 4 in a direct fight for the automatic qualification spot with two games left.

Victory for Germany on Saturday would leave Roman and co resigned to the play-offs, while a Russian win would send them to Azerbaijan the following Wednesday with their fate in their own hands.

The situation is just as tense for our Croatians - Vedran Corluka and Niko Kranjcar - who are again without the injured Luka Modric.

After a friendly with Qatar in Zagreb this Thursday (Oct 8), they travel to Kazakhstan for their final game in Group 6 next Wednesday knowing only victory will do to ensure a play-off spot, with England already secured as group winners

‘Charlie' and Niko will be hoping Aaron Lennon and Peter Crouch do them a favour by beating third-placed Ukraine on the Saturday, thus maintaining the two-point advantage Croatia currently have going into the final games on the Wednesday, when Ukraine travel to Andorra. ‘Azza' and ‘Crouchy', meanwhile, welcome Belarus to Wembley for their finale.


The main aim for Robbie Keane and the Republic of Ireland will also be securing the final play-off spot in Group 8.

Italy are currently four points out in front with two games to play, and the two meet at Croke Park on the Saturday before both face home games on the Wednesday - Ireland with Montenegro, Italy with Cyprus.

Bulgaria are also lurking in that group, five points behind Ireland in third, and face a trip to Cyprus on the Saturday and a home game with Georgia on the Wednesday realistically needing to win both in order to overtake ‘Keano' and co.

Gareth Bale and Wales have away matches in Finland and Liechtenstein but have already been eliminated.

Into the CONCACAF zone, and Wilson Palacios' Honduras are hanging onto the third and final automatic qualification spot, one point clear of Costa Rica.

Honduras travel to face group leaders USA on the Saturday before a home match with El Salvador on the Wednesday, knowing falling out of the top three could result in a play-off with the fifth-placed South American team, possibly Argentina, in order to qualify.

Wilson Palacios

In Africa, victory for Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Sebastien Bassong for Cameroon against Togo on Saturday would see them through to the Finals so long as Adel Taarabt and Morocco defeat closest rivals Gabon on the same day.

The Indomitable Lions then travel to Portugal for a friendly with Angola on the Wednesday.

There are also European Championship qualifiers at Under-21 level over the coming week.

Kyle Naughton and Danny Rose represent England against Macedonia in Coventry this Friday, while Dorian Dervite travels to Malta with France before a home game with Belgium next Tuesday.

At Under-19 level there's a busy schedule for Noel Blake's England, who travel to Slovenia for games with Finland, Slovenia and Slovakia in the first round of European Championship qualification. Dean Parrett, Ryan Mason, Steven Caulker and Adam Smith are all involved.

And Academy winger Paul McBride is set to represent the Republic of Ireland at Under-18 level in a couple of friendlies with Turkey next week.

We will keep you updated on how all the lads fare.