After a sudden break from games following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the Premier League returned briefly last weekend with a series of exciting matches. Now, fans will have to wait a bit longer as the league suffers another hiatus due to an international break which started on Monday and will run until September 27.
The main action begins Wednesday with six matches.
While many of these teams in this roster will not be competing in Qatar, there are plenty of matches between World Cup opponents including South Korea-Costa Rica, USA-Japan and Iran-Uruguay. .
Here’s a look at the current international break and where to catch your favorite stars:
What is the international truce?
International breaks are a designated period that allows players to temporarily leave their clubs to represent their national teams in competitions such as FIFA World Cup qualifying matches, UEFA European Championships, Africa Cup of Nations and the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
This season’s schedule is particularly unusual due to the fact that the World Cup starts in November, rather than the traditional summer start date.
This week is the last international break before the official start of matches in Qatar.
When is the 2022 World Cup?
The 2022 World Cup opens on Sunday, November 20, with Ecuador taking on host nation Qatar. This kicks off almost a month of competition, crowned by the World Cup final on December 18.
The schedule for each round is below:
- Group matches: Nov. 20 to Dec. 2
- Round of 16: 3 Dec. to 6 Dec.
- Quarter-finals: December 9 and 10
- Semi-finals: December 13 and 14
- 3rd place: December 17
- Final: December 18
Six days of rest are planned on December 7, December 8, December 11, December 12, December 15 and December 16.
The complete program is available here.
Do these friendly matches count for the World Cup?
In short, no.
The groups are established for the World Cup and these matches have no bearing on the World Cup standings. However, it is an opportunity for national teams – who rarely play together as a unit – to secure much-needed representatives with the World Cup two months away.
Which Premier League players are facing their national team this week?
Dozens of Premier League players will swap their club kits for national colors this weekend.
For the United States, Matt Turner (Arsenal), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Chris Richards (Crystal Palace) and the young Leeds United duo of Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams will all be on hand as the United take on the Japan and Saudi Arabia, the two teams that will face each other in Qatar.
Some of the biggest names in the league will also be competing this week.
Topping the Premier League table is Arsenal, who prevailed in the first month of the league despite missing out on the top 4 last season. Ten Arsenal players will take part in the international break, including Bukayo Saka (England), William Saliba (France) and USMNT’s Turner.
Just behind the Gunners in the EPL table is a tie between Manchester City and Tottenham.
City have 16 players representing their national teams, including wonderkid Erling Haaland with Norway and Kevin De Bruyne with Belgium. Meanwhile, Tottenham have 14 players called up to the national team, headlined by Harry Kane and Eric Dier (England), Richarlison (Brazil) and Son Heung-min (South Korea).
A full list of Premier League players taking part in friendlies this weekend can be found here.