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Spurs around the world

A host of our players are in World Cup qualifying action across the globe over the weekend...

A host of our players are in World Cup qualifying action across the globe over the weekend...


And it doesn't get any bigger for Robbie Keane, as he leads the Republic of Ireland into a crucial clash with Bulgaria in Sofia.

The Republic have had an excellent campaign so far, unbeaten under coach Giovanni Trapattoni with skipper Robbie leading the line, and they find themselves just two points behind leaders Italy in Group 8.

But they know they have a fight on their hands to hang on to the all-important second spot with Bulgaria breathing down their necks in third, five points behind them with a game in hand, so victory in Sofia would open up significant breathing space for the Irish.

Wales have it all to do in Group 4, sitting six points off the top two having played a game more than second-placed Russia, and Chris Gunter, at just 19 years of age, finds himself as one of the more experienced Dragons in a young squad travelling to Azerbaijan for Saturday's qualifier.

But the full-back has warned people against doubting John Toshack's men, saying: "People may think this is just a squad full of raw youngsters and that we are going to lose, but we have come here to win."

Chris Gunter

And the pressure is also on for Vedran Corluka and Luka Modric as they look to keep on the tails of Group 6 leaders England with victory over second-placed Ukraine in Zagreb.

Jermain Defoe, meanwhile, will be hoping to fire the Three Lions to victory in Kazakhstan, thus building on the five-point gap Fabio Capello's men have opened at the top.

Into South America, and it could be a big day for Heurelho Gomes as he is welcomed back into the international fold for the first time in three years for Brazil's qualifier with Uruguay in Montivideo.

Carlos Dunga's side are currently three points off leaders Paraguay in their zone, who they welcome to Rio on Wednesday.

Giovani Dos Santos is also in action for Mexico as they take on El Salvador, looking to break into the top three of the CONCACAF zone that will qualify them for 2010.

Heurelho Gomes


Our African lads are in action, and Benoit Assou-Ekotto is set to be involved in the game of the day as he and Cameroon take on Morocco in Yaounde.

Both teams have made dreadful starts to their final group stage, suffering defeats in their opening games, so whoever comes off worst in this clash will have it all to do to qualify.

Things are looking a bit better for Didier Zokora and the Ivory Coast after winning their opening game, but they cannot afford to get complacent before a tricky trip to Guinea.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto


To round off a weekend of international football, Danny Rose could get the chance to make his bow for England at Under-21 level when they face Azerbaijan in a friendly at Milton Keynes.

He joins Fraizer Campbell in the squad as the Young Lions play their final warm up game before the European Under-21 Championships that start in Sweden a week later.