AS IRELAND prepare to meet Serbia in Belgrade, their rivals for World Cup qualification, Germany, play Argentina in a glamour friendly.
Germany captain Philip Lahm leads the list of omissions, along with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Gomez, and Arsenal duo Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker, who are preparing for their club’s Premier League opener at home to Sunderland next Saturday.
And for Argentina, 30-year-old Newcastle centre-back Fabricio Coloccini has been recalled after a three-year international absence.
New France coach Didier Deschamps will assume control for the first time in Wednesday’s friendly against South American champions Uruguay.
Deschamps was appointed following the departure of Laurent Blanc, who left his position in the wake of France’s disappointing Euro 2012 campaign.
Uncapped youngsters Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Christophe Jallet (Paris Saint-Germain), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier) and Etienne Capoue (Toulouse) have been called up, while Lille captain Rio Mavuba and Lyon winger Jimmy Briand return to the fold.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez will be without Napoli striker Edinson Cavani and Liverpool playmaker Luis Suarez, who have only just linked up with their clubs following the Olympic football tournament.
While Uruguay’s Olympic team failed to progress past the group stage at the London Games, the national team remains undefeated since May 2011.
England also play Italy in Switzerland, as the two nations face each other at the Stade de Suisse in Bern, giving managers Roy Hodgson and Cesare Prandelli a chance to experiment with youth.
Chelsea left back Ryan Bertrand and Tottenham duo Steven Caulker – who spent the season on loan at Swansea – and Jake Livermore have been handed their first call-ups to the England senior team, while Michael Carrick returns to the international fold.
Hodgson has also decided to rest captain Steven Gerrard as well as Wayne Rooney and John Terry in England’s first match since bowing out of Euro 2012 at the hands of Italy.
The Italians, meanwhile, have named eight uncapped players in the 22-man squad, which includes the likes of AC Milan debutants Stephan El Shaarawy, Mattia De Sciglio and Francesco Acerbi, and charismatic Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli.
At Easter Road, Scotland and Australia go head-to-head for the first time since the Australians ran out 2-0 winners in November 2000.
Brazil manager Mano Menezes will use the Olympic squad when the silver medallists meet Sweden in Stockholm, with David Luiz, Ramires and Paulinho the only new additions.
Olympic gold medallists Mexico continue their longstanding rivalry against the United States at the famous Estadio Azteca, while Euro 2012 semi-finalists Portugal hosts Panama.
The Croatians play Switzerland with former international defender Igor Stimac taking control of Croatia for the first time as they begin life without Slaven Bilic.
Netherlands, who endured a catastrophic tournament in Poland and Ukraine, take on the Belgium national team as Louis van Gaal begins his second stint as manager.
Fabio Capello makes his debut in charge of Russia against the Ivory Coast, Chris Coleman’s Wales face off against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland clash with Finland and Venezuela do battle against Japan, an Asian Cup winning side featuring new Manchester United signing Shinji Kagawa.
Waldemar Fornalik will lead Poland in Estonia, Czech Republic play Ukraine less than a year since thumping the Euro 2012 co-hosts 4-0, while Denmark welcome Slovakia to the Parken Stadion and 2004 European champions Greece tackle Norway.
In other fixtures on Wednesday, Romania make their way to Slovenia, Macedonia entertain Lithuania, Chile and Ecuador square off, Abdullah Avci’s Turkey play Austria, Paraguay come up against Guatemala and Albania hosts Moldova.
China welcomes Ghana to Tianhe Stadium in Guangzhou, Zambia make the trip to South Korea, Armenia face Belarus, European minnows Azerbaijan play Bahrain, Luxembourg hosts Georgia, Israel travel to Ferenc Szusza Stadium to play Hungary, while Montenegro and Latvia lock horns.
Canada encounter Trinidad & Tobago at Central Broward Regional Park, El Salvador do battle against Jamaica, Costa Rica and Peru go head to head, Cyprus flies out to Bulgaria and Iceland play the Faroe Islands in Reykjavik.