Over the past couple of days, the biggest story of Wednesday's slate of international friendlies has quickly shifted from the meaningless matches themselves (which, let's face it, where never a huge story to begin with) to the England versus Holland game scheduled for Wednesday evening at London's Wembley Stadium facing the threat of cancellation due to the imminent collapse of western civilization. And late on Tuesday what many had expected came to pass, as the FA in coordination with London's Metropolitan Police and government at national and local levels officially cancelled the match.
Glen Johnson—already ruled out due to the thigh injury he picked up in the early going against Valencia on Saturday that will likely see him miss the season opener against Sunderland—was never going to be a part of it, but as of late Tuesday night in England Stewart Downing, Andy Carroll, and Dirk Kuyt had all joined the fullback back in Liverpool.
As unfortunate as the events surrounding the cancellation of the match are, a FIFA international day scheduled right before the opening weekend for many major European leagues was always completely ridiculous. More ridiculous still than holding legitimate European Championship or World Cup qualifiers three days before the start of the season is dragging players away from their clubs to participate in meaningless international friendlies, as was the case in England v. Netherlands. And as is the case with all of the remaining games—which will of course all go ahead as planned.
A combination of injuries and the increase in English players at the club may mean having to keep track of fewer international sides during breaks like this, but even with the match at Wembley called off there will be a handful of Liverpool players taking part in action later today:
Raul Meireles, still nursing a slight knock, was nevertheless picked to fly to the Algarve to kick Luxembourg around in a meaningless friendly. Assuming the Portuguese FA are more competent than their English counterparts, a brief run could be good for a player who's seen almost no game action in preseason. And if the Portugese FA are just as incompetent as their English counterparts when it comes to dealing with player fitness and he's not completely healed, a brief run might do nothing but keep him sidelined for an extra week or two when he returns to Liverpool.
Elsewhere, Pepe Reina will be heading to Bari with Spain to face Italy in another friendly, and in his case, if he does manage to see a half of action in place of Iker Casillas it might not be a bad thing given his shortened preseason at Liverpool after returning from surgery. Whether or not he does see any action, the rest of the Spanish side seems certain to face Alberto Aquilani at some point in the match, a player whose future with Liverpool is still completely uncertain but who will see time in Italy's midfield no matter what.
With Denmark set to visit Hamden Park to take on Scotland this evening, Daniel Agger is rumoured to have been excused from facing new Liverpool signing Charlie Adam as a precautionary measure by coach Morten Olsen, keen to manage the long-term fitness of a player with a well known history of injury. With Fernando Torres now Chelsea's problem it's cause for a huge sigh of relief, with the talented but injury-prone Dane top of the list when it comes to players Liverpool fans will be worried about any time they're off on international duty. When it comes to players who definitely haven't been excused from the match, Danny Wilson has been selected to join Adam in the Scotland side, though it is unlikely that he will see much—if any—action. Also, Christian Poulsen will be there. Perhaps he'll manage to get lost on the way back to Liverpool.
Finally, Lucas will be spared from having to play against Germany one week after his return to Liverpool due to the red card he picked up in Brazil's final match of the Copa America, while for the first time in a long time, Sotirios Kyrgiakos has been left out of the Greek squad as they prepare to face Bosnia-Herzegovina.
7:45PM GMT/2:45PM EST Germany v Brazil
7:45PM GMT/2:45PM EST Italy v Spain
7:45PM GMT/2:45PM EST Scotland v Denmark
8:00PM GMT/3:00PM EST Greece v Bosnia-Herzegovina
8:00PM GMT/3:00PM EST England v Netherlands
9:00PM GMT/4:00PM EST Portugal v Luxembourg