International break: Fernandinho’s Brazil 2014 audition
- 04 March 2014 10:25
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
There are 100 days to go until World Cup 2014 and final preparations are in focus this week, with the first international break of the calendar year.
Securing seats on planes to Brazil this summer will be the motivation for most of City’s first-team squad as they scatter across the globe.
The City man with the most air miles to cover is arguably the player with the most to gain from this round of friendlies.
Fernandinho won his recall to the Brazil squad in the nick of time after nearly two years in the international wilderness and he’ll be hoping to capitalise on Lucas Leiva’s injury and impress in the friendly against South Africa in Johannesburg.
It’s the last friendly before Luiz Felipe Scolari names his 23-man squad for the tournament on home soil, so it will be fascinating to see if the Londrina-born midfielder can replicate his club form in the famous canary yellow of the Seleção.
If he plays a part, it will be his first appearance for Brazil since February 2012.
The World champions will also be in action on Wednesday in a mouthwatering exhibition match against Italy at Estadio Vincente Calderon in Madrid.
Juan Mata and Fernando Torres were both omitted from Vincente del Bosque’s squad, while there was a call-up for Atletico frontman Diego Costa, who could debut for Spain in his club stadium.
All eyes will also be on Emyr Huws, who could make his Wales debut in Wednesday’s friendly against Iceland.
Huws won February Player of the Month for Birmingham City, the latest achievement in his impressive loan spell at St Andrews, and he’s hoping that a first senior cap will come his way in the friendly at Cardiff City Stadium.
"I was chuffed to get the call," Huws told BBC Sport.
"It's good to be with the lads and around the squad, so I'm delighted.
"Hopefully I can get on and get my first cap - that would be a great achievement for me."
Another City youngster with a chance to make history is under-18s winger, Bersant Celina.
The 17-year old is in the Kosovo senior squad for their first-ever FIFA-sanctioned match which will be against Haiti in Mitrovica.
Both Argentine players are virtually guaranteed places in Alejandro Sabella’s squad after playing pivotal roles in South American qualifying, while Costel will be hoping to catch coach Victor Piturca's eye with Euro 2016 qualifying coming up after the summer.
Like Aguero and Zabaleta, the pair are firm favourites of their national team manager and can probably be considered as shoe-ins for the final squad.
Edin Dzeko is another who, injury pending, is a dead cert for the World Cup. The Bosnian is in Innsbruck where the Dragons take on Egypt.
Finally, on-loan defender Karim Rekik is in the Netherlands squad for their match against France in Paris on Wednesday.