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By ESPN Staff
Nov 4, 2005

Karlsons returns to Latvia squad for Belarus friendly

RIGA, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Girts Karlsons returns from injury for Latvia's friendly away to Belarus on November 12 after strong recent performances for his club side.

The FHK Liepajas Metalurgs striker, who missed Latvia's disappointing World Cup qualifying campaign due to injury, scored a hat-trick in his side's 9-0 victory over FK Venta last month.

'Karlsons hasn't been in the national team for a long time because of injuries but he's been scoring quite a lot for his club team lately, so the coach decided to give him a chance,' said Latvian Football Federation spokesman Krisjanis Klavins.

Latvia are expecting a tough contest in Belarus.

'We lost the last two (home) matches 4-2 and 4-1, but this will be an away game so it will be pretty difficult,' said Klavins.

Dynamo Moscow striker Andrejs Prohorenkovs and Grazer AK midfielder Imants Bleidelis will miss the game due to injury.

Goalkeepers: Aleksandrs Kolinko (Kazanas Rubin, Russia), Andrejs Piedels (FC Skonto)

Defenders: Igors Stepanovs (Grasshoppers, Switzerland), Dzintars Zirnis, Antons Jemelins, Deniss Ivanovs (all three FHK Liepajas Metalurgs), Aleksandrs Isakovs, Arturs Zakresevskis (both FC Skonto).

Midfielders: Vitalijs Astafjevs (Kazanas Rubin, Russia), Andrejs Rubins (Spartak Moscow, Russia), Juris Laizans (Torpedo Moscow, Russia), Genadijs Solonicins (FHK Liepajas Metalurgs), Aleksejs Visnakovs, Viktors Morozs (both FC Skonto ), Vladimirs Kolesnicenko (FK Moscow, Russia).

Strikers: Maris Verpakovskis (Dynamo Kiev, Ukraine), Vits Rimkus (FK Ventspils), Gatis Kalnins (both FC Skonto), Girts Karlsons (FHK Liepajas Metalurgs).