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By ESPN Staff
Nov 14, 2006

Euro 2008 qualifying and friendly news round-up

LONDON, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Brief news from around the national squads for Wednesday's Euro 2008 qualifiers and friendly matches:

Germany will be without half their first-choice team, including goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, as they look to make it four wins out of four in Group D against Cyprus.

Bernd Schneider, Lukas Podolski, Christoph Metzelder, Tim Borowski and Sebastian Kehl are among the other names on a growing casualty list.

'We have a lot of tired players and a lot of injured players,' team manager Oliver Bierhoff warned. 'It would be a huge error to underestimate Cyprus now.'

Ireland will be without Newcastle United defender Stephen Carr against San Marino, also in Group D. Club mate Shay Given, who missed matches against Cyprus and the Czech Republic through injury, should start despite not having played since regaining fitness.

Given has warned that defeat against San Marino is not an option if Ireland want to qualify for the Euro 2008 finals after a humiliating 5-2 defeat by Cyprus last month and a 1-1 home draw with the Czech Republic.

Israel captain Yossi Benayoun is determined to play in the Group E tussle at home to Croatia in Tel Aviv. The inspirational midfielder suffered a partial knee ligament tear in West Ham's 1-0 defeat at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Powerful Maccabi Haifa forward Yaniv Katan is also injured and misses out. Israel are unbeaten in their last 13 qualifying matches in the European Championship and World Cup.

Croatia will be without midfielder Milan Rapaic of Standard Liege and Werder Bremen striker Ivan Klasnic, both injured. Coach Slaven Bilic has called up uncapped Parma forward Igor Budan.

First-choice goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa, who had a fever on Monday, could miss the tie. Besiktas goalkeeper Vedran Runje will deputise if he fails to recover in time.

'A victory in Tel Aviv would be perfect for us,' said Bilic. 'I believe my players will display their best and we'll do all we can to cause a severe headache for the Israeli side on Wednesday night.'

Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo is battling to recover from a leg injury in time for the home clash with Kazakhstan in Group A.

Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari named four uncapped players in his squad -- midfielder Raul Meireles, goalkeeper Daniel Fernandes, defenders Nelson Marques and Antonio Leonel.

Injuries and impending fatherhood have left Netherlands coach Marco van Basten with a re-shuffled side to face England in a friendly in Amsterdam.

Midfielders Wesley Sneijder and Nigel de Jong are out due to injury, along with defender Giovanni van Bronckhorst, while striker Robin van Persie has been granted leave of absence as his wife Bouchra is expecting their first child. Clarence Seedorf, called up for the first time since Euro 2004, could play.

England have lost eight players from their squad, though only one of the absentees, right back Gary Neville, would have made Steve McClaren's starting line-up.

Captain Patrick Vieira will earn his 100th cap leading France against European champions Greece in a friendly in Paris.

Olympique Lyon strikers Karim Benzema and Sidney Govou have pulled out through injury.

Coach Raymond Domenech has picked several young players for France's final outing of 2006 but he is likely to stick to a traditional 4-4-2 line-up with a strike partnership of Arsenal's Thierry Henry and Manchester United's Louis Saha.

Liverpool's Luis Garcia and Barcelona's Andres Iniesta have withdrawn from the Spain squad to play Romania in a friendly in Cadiz.