It's been a while coming, but finally the domestic break is over and we can return our attention to Proper Football. International football. But wait? we hear you cry. Didn't all the Euros qualification already happen? No, you silly fools. There's playoffs for some, and there's friendlies for the rest.
England first, since Manchester hasn't yet got around to declaring formal independence. Four of United's players have made Roy Hodgson's squad: captain Wayne Rooney is joined by Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Michael Carrick. They're playing Spain on Friday night, and may well face David de Gea and Juan Mata in the process, before meeting France at Wembley next Tuesday. Anthony Martial and Morgan Schneiderlin are in the French squad for that one and for Friday night's game against Bastian Schweinsteiger and Germany.
Germany's second game comes against their nearest and dearest neighbours the Netherlands on Tuesday. The Dutch are a complete mess at the moment, which we can only hope isn't connected to the presence of Daley Blind and Memphis Depay in their squad. The Dutch also play Wales, though future Manchester United captain Gareth Bale will not be involved. He has a hurty calf.
You want more? Well, another player who's injured and so won't be playing this week is Marouane Fellaini. A crippling attack of vertigo will keep him out of Belgium's games against Italy and Spain. Also missing is Adnan Januzaj, who was dropped to the U21s, only to refuse to appear for the Belgian kids. Always a good look, that. Matteo Darmian is in the Italy squad, and is in with a shout of appearing against the Belgians and Romania.
Away from all this friendly nonsense, Marcos Rojo and Sergio Romero have serious business to take care of. Argentina face Brazil and Colombia in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. It's early days but these are big games: the Argentines have made a pretty miserable start: they have one point from two games, and will be missing Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez. Presumably Rojo will be starting up front.
Finally, the curious case of Paddy McNair. Northern Ireland — already qualified for Euro 2016, remember — have a friendly against Latvia on Friday night, and McNair is not in the squad thanks to an abdominal injury. However, he will be monitored, and may join up with his country. Okay, so that's not particularly curious. But you try getting something interesting out of an international break.
Full details below. Happy praying-that-Martial-doesn't-snap-a-bone-in-his-foot week.
Friday 13 November
Belgium vs. Italy, 19:45
Wales vs. Netherlands, 19:45
Northern Ireland vs. Latvia, 19:45
France vs. Germany, 20:00
Spain vs. England, 20:00
Argentina vs. Brazil, 00:00 (UPDATE: actually, this is midnight Thursday, or early Friday morning. Abolish time zones now.)
Tuesday 17 November
Belgium vs. Spain, 19:45
Germany vs. Netherlands, 19:45
Italy vs. Romania, 19:45
England vs. France, 20:00
Colombia vs. Argentina, 20:30