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Preview - World Cup Qualifying play-offs

18 Nov 2009 14:19:23

Preview - World Cup Qualifying play-offs

The final European qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa will be decided tonight, and every game is up for grabs. With attention on the Republic of Ireland, Football.co.uk previews the three remaining matches.

Bosnia (0) v (1) Portugal

Both sides have injury worries as Bosnia have an excellent chance of overturning the one-goal deficit in Zenica tonight.

Portugal may be without a number of high-profile stars for the game in Zenica, including ace Cristiano Ronaldo. Real Madrid expect him back in training on Friday, which is too late for him to have any impact in Bosnia.

Bruno Alves (ankle), goalscorer in the first leg, and Deco (muscle) are both worries as manager Carlos Queiroz faces a possible enforced tactical switch.

Bosnia will be hoping for a great start to the game but are also without key players. Emir Spahic, Elver Rahimic and Samir Muratovic all picked up bookings in Lisbon and are suspended for the return leg.

Slovenia (1) v (2) Russia

Slovenia striker Milijove Novakovic has rallied his team ahead of a crunch home encounter with Russia.

"Russia can count on real hell in Maribor. We will fight and try to score. When? It does not matter," the Cologne star said as his side prepare to overturn a one-goal deficit and qualify for the World Cup next year.

The Ljudski vrt Stadium has been a fortress for Slovenia during the qualifiers and, knowing they just need a 1-0 victory to qualify, they could hand a start to Nejc Pecnik, the scorer of their late equaliser.

Alan Dzagoev returns for the Russians, who have no fresh injury worries for the game. Manager Guus Hiddink believes that Slovenia have an advantage but added: "We have a one goal advantage and we will try to score, even though it will not be easy."

Ukraine (0) v (0) Greece

Ukraine go into this game as favourites to qualify for the World Cup after holding Greece to a scoreless draw in Athens.

Manager Oleksiy Myhaylychenko has just one player missing for the game as Grigoriy Yarmash is sick. Midfielder Anatoliy Tymoschuk said: "I have heard the excellent atmosphere in the stadium. The fans will support us and be our 12th man."

For Greece, Giorgios Karagounis and Sotiris Kyrgiakos both sat out training on Monday but are hoping to be fit for the clash.

The former European Champions have a slight advantage as any score draw would see them progress on away goals, Ukraine have to win to advance by right. Another 0-0 would take the tie to the lottery of a penalty shootout.

-By David Brenchley


DSG

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