Eagles duo Yohan Cabaye and Steve Mandanda have been selected by France for a pair of crunch fixtures against Bulgaria and Holland next month.
They are two of seven Eagles who have been confirmed as selected by their countries for the upcoming international break which sees a host of 2018 World Cup qualifiers take place across the globe, and having drawn their opening match against Belarus in the last break, the Palace duo will be hoping to get France back on track, with Cabaye returning to Didier Deschamps’s squad after missing the previous games due to injury.
First for Les Bleus is a home game against Bulgaria – the only side in Group A to win their opening match – on Friday 7th October, before they make the short trip to Holland for a mouth-watering clash against the Dutch three days later in Amsterdam.
Also in the European qualifiers, James McArthur returns to the Scotland squad as they take on Lithuania and Slovakia. The midfielder missed the 5-1 demolition of Malta earlier this month because of injury, but is back in contention for Gordon Strachan’s side, who are in the same group as England.
As expected, Wayne Hennessey and Joe Ledley are once again included in Wales’ squad for their matches against Austria and Georgia as they too look to continue their good start to the campaign, having thrashed Moldova 4-0 last time out. On-loan Jonny Williams meanwhile has been left out by Chris Coleman as he is lacking match fitness.
Christian Benteke is also expected to be called up for by Belgium as they take on Bosnia and Herzegovina and Gibraltar.
In African action, Bakary Sako’s Mali kick-off their campaign to be at the finals in Russia when they travel to the Ivory Coast, having been drawn in a tough final qualifying group alongside the Elephants, Morocco and Gabon. They face a tall order to reach their first ever World Cup with just one side from those four going through.
Chung-yong Lee meanwhile has been selected by South Korea for their next pair of qualifiers against Qatar and Iran. The Koreans have four points from their opening two qualifiers, and Lee looks set to add to his impressive haul of 74 caps for his country over the coming weeks.
Confirmed call-ups (all times BST)
Thursday 6th October
South Korea (Lee) v Qatar
World Cup qualifier, Suwon – 12pm
Austria v Wales (Ledley, Hennessey)
World Cup qualifier, 7.45pm
Friday 7th October
France (Cabaye, Mandanda) v Bulgaria
World Cup qualifier, Paris – 8.45pm
Saturday 8th October
Ivory Coast v Mali (Sako)
World Cup qualifier, Bouake – 7pm
Scotland (McArthur) v Lithuania
World Cup qualifier, Glasgow – 7.45pm
Sunday 9th October
Wales (Ledley, Hennessey) v Georgia
World Cup qualifier, Cardiff – 5pm
Monday 10th October
Holland v France (Cabaye, Mandanda)
World Cup qualifier, Amsterdam – 7.45pm
Tuesday 11th October
Iran v South Korea (Lee)
World Cup qualifier, Tehran – 2.45pm
Slovakia v Scotland (McArthur)
World Cup qualifier, Trnava – 7.45pm