It’s that dreaded time again, yes, the second international break of the 2017/2018 season is now upon us, but it isn’t all doom and gloom.
Many of our beloved Claret & Blue stars will be in action for their various Countries all over the vying to make it to Russia 2018, join us today as we Preview just where and when our International Hammers will be in action.
In the European bracket of World Cup Qualifying, as many as six Hammers are competing for their nations. The defensive duo of Aaron Cresswell and keeper Joe Hart have been selected by Gareth Southgate for upcoming Games against Slovenia and Lithuania, with just a win needed for a place in Russia.
Elsewhere, Marko Arnautovic will feature for a struggling Austria Side, but the same can’t be said for youngster Sead Haksabanovic and Montenegro who are on the cusp of making it to their first World Cup.
He will be hoping that he can play some part as they try to make history against Denmark and Poland, while Robert Snodgrass, currently on loan with Aston Villa, will face a similar proposition with Scotland.
Finally, on the Continent, Jose Fonte will travel to Portugal for clashes with Andorra away from home and Switzerland at home in what could be a Group deciding clash.
Young Swiss midfielder Edimilson Fernandes was meant to be facing Fonte but was forced to pull out of the Squad with injury.
An impressive four Hammers will be swapping Continents in the next seven days as they head to Africa for their Qualifying campaigns.
Captain Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho lead the way with Senegal as a win over The Cape Verde Islands would go a long way to booking their place next summer.
Meanwhile, Arthur Masuaku’s recent switch of alliance to The Democratic Republic of Congo sees him three points off Tunisia and effectively needing to beat Libya to keep his hopes of a first World Cup alive.
To finish in Africa, Andre Ayew will lead the line for his Nation of Ghana against Uganda this week, although Qualification from Group E looks highly unlikely for the 2017 African Cup of Nations Semi-Finalists.
North, Central America, And The Caribbean
Mexico’s all-time leading Goal-Scorer Javier Hernandez will be the only Hammer from The Americas and Caribbean to feature for their Country over the next seven or so days.
Hernandez and Mexico, who have already secured their place at Russia 2018, will try to ensure that they win The Group by overcoming Trinidad & Tobago and Honduras.
With Winston Reid’s return to full-fitness, we have a Hammer in the Oceania Bracket.
But the Qualifying has already finished in that part of the World as The Kiwis wait to find out their South American Play-Off opposition, they face Japan in a friendly.
As well as the Senior stars that are set to impress during the course of this International Break, many starlets will also take to the field across The Globe, including several young Hammers.
Josh Cullen, Declan Rice, and Martin Samuelsen will all be competing at U21 level, Cullen and Rice for The Republic of Ireland and Samuelsen for his native Norway.
At U19 level, Rihards Matrevics, Anthony Scully, and Dan Kemp will represent, Latvia, Ireland and England respectively, with Reece Oxford and Nathan Trott receiving England U20 call-ups.
Portugal’s Domingos Quina would have also featured in this list for The U20s but was forced to withdraw through an injury niggle.
So, with all 20 of our Hammer Internationals poised for action all over the World in the next week, who will make it to Russia 2018? And more importantly, of course, will the bulk of the Squad return to Slaven Bilic and Terry Westley unscathed?