But they have learned that star players such as Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure at Manchester City, Chelsea duo Didier Drogba and Michael Essien, plus Alex Song and Emmanuel Eboue, of Arsenal, could be made to leave England as early as December 26 – even though the tournament does not start until January 10.
FIFA rules state clearly that countries can ask players to report a full two weeks ahead of a major tournament, meaning that key English-based players could join training camps as early as December 27.
No official word on their departure date as yet, and I'm certain that the club will negotiate to ensure both players are available for the two league fixtures before Christmas and New Year.
If so, it will only be four league games the duo miss (perhaps less if their countries are eliminated at an early stage - more likely for Adebayor than Toure), but there will be the added possibility of them missing a potential Carling Cup semi-final (both legs) and the FA Cup 3rd and 4th round ties.
Of course, this shouldn't be a surprise to the management and you do hope that the usual disrespectful moaning from certain managers about the tournament isn't something we are going to hear again throughout January.