Kasper Schmeichel

City’s World Cup Contingent

Leicester City Football Club is set for their strongest representation at a major international tournament, as 10 stars prepare to represent their nations at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Kasper Schmeichel – named in Denmark’s 23-man squad on Monday – saw the Club’s World Cup contingent hit double figures following a series of call-ups over the past few weeks.

This summer’s flagship tournament gets underway on Thursday 14 June, when host nation Russia face Saudi Arabi at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

It will mark a month of international action in which City stars from as many as six countries could feature alongside and against some of the best players in the world.  

England: Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire

Tunisia vs. England, Monday 18 June (7pm kick-off BST)
England vs. Panama, Sunday 24 June (1pm kick-off BST)
England vs. Belgium, Thursday 28 June (7pm kick-off BST)

Having already scored at a major tournament for the Three Lions, Jamie Vardy will be hoping to add to his productive goal return in Russia this summer. He has netted on average a goal every three games for England having found the back of the net seven times in 21 appearances. Meanwhile, Harry Maguire’s consistency during his debut campaign for the Foxes saw him earn a maiden call-up in August 2017 and, since then, he has notched up a total of four caps. Both will be hoping to impress in Group G, where they could potentially face City team-mate Yohan Benalouane in their opening fixture.

Portugal: Adrien Silva and Ricardo Pereira

Portugal vs. Spain, Friday 15 June (7pm kick-off BST)
Portugal vs. Morocco, Wednesday 20 June (1pm kick-off BST)
Iran vs. Portugal, Monday 25 June (7pm kick-off BST)

Midfielder Adrien Silva, 29, has played 22 times for his nation since making his debut in October 2014 and will link up with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Moutinho and Bernardo Silva this summer. Also included in the Portugal squad is defender Ricardo Pereira, who last month agreed a five-year deal with the Club, subject to international clearance. Like Maguire, Pereira is in the early stages of his international career having made four appearances.  

Nigeria: Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Ahmed Musa

Croatia vs. Nigeria, Saturday 16 June (8pm kick-off BST)
Nigeria vs. Iceland, Friday 22 June (4pm kick-off BST)
Nigeria vs. Argentina, Tuesday 26 June (7pm kick-off BST)

Nigeria could provide City’s heaviest representation at the World Cup, with Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Ahmed Musa all included in their 23-man set-up. They face a tricky set of fixtures in Group D, where they take on Euro 2016 Quarter-Finalists Iceland, Croatia and two-time World Cup winners Argentina. However, the Super Eagles have fared well against Lionel Messi’s men in recent years. Musa netted a brace against them at the World Cup four years ago, while Iheanacho inspired his nation to a sensational comeback win in a friendly back in November.

Japan: Shinji Okazaki

Columbia vs. Japan, Tuesday 19 June (1pm kick-off BST)
Japan vs. Senegal, Sunday 24 June (4pm kick-off BST)
Japan vs. Poland, Thursday 28 June (3pm kick-off BST)

Japan’s third-highest goalscorer of all time, Shinji Okazaki will no doubt provide a wealth of experience for his nation in Russia. Under new manager Akira Nishino, Okazaki, 32, will hope to add to his hefty number of caps having made 112 appearances to date. He could potentially come up against several stars from the Premier League including Liverpool’s Sadio Mane (Senegal), Tottenham Hotspur defender Davinson Sanchez (Columbia) and Southampton youngster Jan Bednarek (Poland).

Denmark: Kasper Schmeichel

Peru vs. Denmark, Saturday 16 June (5pm kick-off BST)
Denmark vs. Australia, Thursday 21 June (1pm kick-off BST)
Denmark vs. France, Thursday 26 June (3pm kick-off BST)

The final Fox to have their place confirmed at the World Cup was goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel – without doubt one of the most talented players in the Denmark squad. Schmeichel has been excellent for both club and country over the years and with star-studded France alongside them in Group C, the Danes will most certainly need the stopper to pick up where he left off earlier this year after missing City’s final five matches of the season with an ankle problem.

Tunisia: Yohan Benalouane

Tunisia vs. England, Monday 18 June (7pm kick-off BST)
Belgium vs. Tunisia, Saturday 23 June (1pm kick-off BST)
Panama vs. Tunisia, Thursday 28 June (7pm kick-off BST)

Centre back Yohan Benalouane could feature in a major tournament for the first time as Tunisia return to the World Cup following a 12-year absence. The North African country are ranked 14th in the world by FIFA, just one spot behind England. Having made his debut for Nabil Maâloul’s outfit earlier this year, Benalouane will be aiming to help his nation navigate the challenges of Group G.

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