International duty

Last updated : 11 November 2005 By Reggie Holdsworth

Mark Schwarzer, Mark Viduka and Szilard Nemeth are playing for their countries in World Cup play-offs, while George Boateng is with the Holland squad for a friendly.

Schwarzer and Viduka start in South America on Saturday where they play Uruguay in the first leg of the South American v Oceanian play-off, then they move to Sydney for the second leg next Wednesday.

Controversy has surrounded this play-off with the two national associations squabbling about the kick-off time in Montevideo. In a bid to deprive the Socceroos of recovery time between the two matches Uruguay set the kick-off time for 9pm, reducing out any chance of the Aussies chartering a flight back to Australia immediately after the game.

The Uruguayan’s plan then backfired as their own charter flight was cancelled. Their request to move the kick-off to back to 6pm was then refused by the Aussies, who had managed to find a charter flight of their own.

FIFA intervened to end the row between the two countries and finally fixed the kick-off time for 6pm.

Nemeth is closer to home as Slovakia take on Spain in a European play-off. The first leg takes place on Saturday in Madrid with the return leg in Bratislava next Wednesday.

Boateng will hope to be involved in Holland’s friendly against Italy in Amsterdam on Saturday, following his injury scare during the week. If he takes part it will be his third cap.

Three of Boro’s youngsters are also on international duty this week. Adam Johnson and David Wheater are with the England U-19 squad, for a friendly against Switzerland, in Wycombe next Wednesday, while Lee Cattermole is with the England U-18 squad for a friendly against Turkey, in Mersin next Tuesday.