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Friday, March 23, 2007

Shevchenko and Arveladze in doubt

Andriy Shevchenko is struggling with an ankle injury and is rated doubtful for Ukraine's UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifier in the Faroe Islands on Saturday. His absence would provide a major headache for coach Oleh Blokhin who already has question marks surrounding the availability of Ruslan Rotan and Serhiy Rebrov, though midfielder Rotan has returned to training following an ankle problem.

Italy coach Roberto Donadoni has pruned his squad for the qualifier against Scotland from 25 players to 21 after a week's training in Coverciano. Goalkeeper Marco Amelia, defenders Daniele Bonera and Manuel Pasqual, and midfielder Franco Semioli missed the cut for Wednesday's Group B game in Bari. By contrast, newcomers Max Tonetto and Fabio Quagliarella confirmed their places. Meanwhile, AS Roma midfielder Simone Perrotta has sat out training with a slight thigh injury but should be fit to face the Scots.

Shota Arveladze may have to skip Georgia's Group B match against Scotland in Glasgow on Saturday as the former Rangers FC forward has a swollen knee. Georgia coach Klaus Toppmöller is hopeful the 34-year-old AZ Alkmaar player will be passed fit. "His knee has been swollen since last Sunday and we will give him until the morning before making a decision," Toppmöller said.

Midfielder Christakis Marangos has left the Cyprus squad for Saturday's Group D home fixture against Slovakia after aggravating a knee injury in training. The 23-year-old has been told to rest for two weeks after the recurrence of the injury, which has troubled him all season at Anorthosis Famagusta FC. There are no plans to replace him.

Heart of Midlothian FC players Edgaras Jankauskas, Saulius Mikoliunas and Marius Zaliukas will be sidelined for Lithuania's weekend qualifier against France after failing to return to full fitness following injuries. Their Hearts team-mates Deividas Cesnauskis and Nerijus Barasa had already been ruled out while Edgaras Cesnauskis has refused to play for his country under coach Algimantas Liubinskas.

Hannover 96 striker Gunnar Heidar Thorvaldsson has dropped out of the Iceland squad to take on Spain in Group F next Wednesday. The 24-year-old has been struggling with a groin complaint and faces a spell on the sidelines. SK Brann's 25-year-old utility man Armann Smari Bjørnsson will take his place.