The next week-and-a-half will see plenty of Chelsea players out on international duty, with most of the first team representing their nations.

John Terry will captain Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole as England host Slovenia on Saturday (5 September) and Croatia next Wednesday (9 September).

Terry will be hoping to lead his country into next summer's World Cup with a win over Croatia next week, following on from the friendly against Slovenia on Saturday.

The Chelsea captain did miss training on Wednesday however, along with Man United's Wes Brown, so Fabio Capello has called up Bolton's Gary Cahill as cover. Terry is expected to recover from a minor injury.

Most of our Portuguese contingent, Deco, José Bosingwa and Ricardo Carvalho, will be part of their nation's squad as Portugal travel to Denmark on Saturday and Hungary next Wednesday.

Deco spot on but it's not enough

Six games into the 10-match qualifying campaign, Portugal have plenty to do to guaranteed their place in South Africa's World Cup next summer.

They are currently third in their table on nine points, trailing Denmark (16 points) and Hungary (13 points), which means defeat in either of their upcoming fixtures could bring an end to their World Cup dreams.

The top team in each European qualifying group goes to the Finals automatically with the second placed sides drawn together in play-offs.

Both Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda could wear the France shirt as their country host Romania this weekend, before heading to Serbia on Wednesday where they will line-up against Branislav Ivanovic.

Serbia currently have a five-point lead over France, who are second in the group, four points ahead of Lithuania.

Petr Cech will be aiming to prevent both Slovakia (Saturday) and San Marino (Wednesday) scoring against Czech Republic. Cech's side has a daunting task ahead, as they find themselves fifth in their table, with eight points.

Their first challenge against neighbours Slovakia will be a tough one, as their opponents preside at the top of the group with 15 points. Slovakia have Miroslav Stoch in their side.

The second game will surely be easier. San Marino have yet to win a game in the World Cup qualifiers.

If Yury Zhirkov can overcome his knee injury, he might be in line for a Russia start against Liechtenstein on Saturday and Wales on Wednesday.

The side managed by Guus Hiddink are in second place in their group, four points behind Germany with a total of 15, which puts them five points ahead of third-placed Finland.

All of our African players are out on international duty as Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou's Ivory Coast face Burkina Faso on Saturday in a potentially decisive qualifier.

Ivory Coast have a three-point lead over their opponents and currently lead their qualifying group. They will secure a place in South Africa if they beat Burkina Faso and third-placed Guinea fail to beat Malawi on the same day.

Michael Essien heads back to Ghana to face Sudan on Sunday (6 September) and Japan on Wednesday. Ghana currently have a five-point lead at the top of their group and look comfortable for a place in next summer's competition as they face Sudan, who sit at the bottom of the group.

John Mikel Obi is part of the Nigeria squad to face Tunisia, also on Sunday. Nigeria currently sit in second place, two points behind Tunisia in their group, meaning a win could put them top.

There will be plenty of Under 21s in international action as well.

Michael Mancienne

England have Michael Mancienne, Daniel Sturridge and Jack Cork in their squad for Uefa Championship qualifiers away against Macedonia (4 Sept) and Greece (8 Sept). However Ryan Bertrand, originally called up, has withdrawn with a knee injury.

Jeffrey Bruma joins his home nation Holland for a clash with Finland on Friday (4 September).

Rhys Taylor, who came through an injury comeback game for Chelsea's reserves this week, can now join up with Wales Under 21s on Friday when they host Italy in an Under. Gokhan Tore will be with Turkey Under 21s who face Georgia on Wednesday.

At Under 19 level, Gaël Kakuta has been selected to represent France in the Sendai Cup in Japan, which runs between 4 and 14 of September.

Jacob Mellis and Adam Phillip will be with England's Under 19s who host Russia on Tuesday (8 September) at Shrewsbury Town's New Meadow Stadium.

And Republic of Ireland's Under 19s have selected Conor Clifford for the 4Nations International Tournament between 4 and 9 September while Anton Rodgers will represent their Under 17s as they continue to play in the Lodz International Tournament.