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Zhirkov boosts Group B leaders Russia

Published: Monday 21 March 2011, 19.00CET
Yuri Zhirkov is back in Group B leaders Russia's squad for Friday's trip to Armenia, one of three teams along with the Republic of Ireland and Slovakia who are only two points adrift.
Zhirkov boosts Group B leaders Russia
Yuri Zhirkov is back in the Russia squad ©Getty Images
 
Published: Monday 21 March 2011, 19.00CET

Zhirkov boosts Group B leaders Russia

Yuri Zhirkov is back in Group B leaders Russia's squad for Friday's trip to Armenia, one of three teams along with the Republic of Ireland and Slovakia who are only two points adrift.

UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group B is proving tight with Russia two points clear of the Republic of Ireland, Armenia and Slovakia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia close behind. So the standings could look very different after Saturday's fixtures. UEFA.com rounds up the team news.

26 March: Armenia v Russia, Andorra v Slovakia, Republic of Ireland v FYROM

Latest standings

Andorra
Andorra coach Jesús Álvarez has stuck with the tried and tested for the visit of Slovakia. The principality will be seeking their first points in the section having lost all four games thus far while scoring just once thanks to a Cristian Martínez strike in the 3-1 defeat to the Republic of Ireland last September.

Goalkeepers: Josep Antoni Gomes (CF San Rafael), Ferran Pol Perez (FC Andorra), Josep Rivas Prieto (UE Santa Coloma)

Defenders: Marc Bernaus (FC Girona), Jordi Escura (FC Alcarràs), Ildefons Lima (AC Bellinzona), Alexandre Ruben (UE Santa Coloma), Jori Rubio Gomez (UE Santa Coloma), Oscar Sonejee (FC Santa Coloma), Emili Josep García (FC Andorra).

Midfielders: Cristian Martínez Alejo (FC Andorra), Josep Manel (FC Andorra), Xavier Andorra (FC Andorra), Alexandre Somoza (FC Andorra), Manuel Jiménez Soria (FC Santa Coloma), Daniel Mejias (FC Andorra), Marco Vieira (Atlético de Monzon), Sergio Moreno (Hellin Deportivo), Genís Garcia (FC Santa Coloma).

Forwards: Julià Sanchez (FC Santa Coloma), Marc Garcia Renom (CF Pomar), Sebastià Gomez Perez (UE Santa Julià).

Armenia
Forward Robert Zebelyan, defender Valeri Aleksanyan and right-sided midfielder Levon Pachajyan have returned to Vardan Minasyan's selection, after they missed out on recent selections. Armenia have reason for optimism as they prepare to meet Russia, following wins against Slovakia and Andorra in their last two home games.

Goalkeepers: Roman Berezovsky (FC Khimki), Stepan Ghazaryan (FC Banants).

Defenders: Sargis Hovsepyan (FC Pyunik), Robert Arzumanyan (Jagiellonia Białystok), Artak Edigaryan (FC Pyunik), Hrayr Mkoyan (FC Mika), Ararat Arakelyan (FC Banants), Artur Yuspashyan (FC Pyunik), Hovhannes Hambardzumyan (FC Banants), Valeri Aleksanyan (Ulisses FC), Levon Hayrapetyan (Legia Warszawa).

Midfielders: Artur Edigaryan (PAS Hamedan FC), Edgar Malakyan (FC Pyunik), Artak Dashyan (FC Metalurh Donetsk), Levon Pachajyan (Sanat Naft FC), Karlen Mkrtchyan (FC Pyunik), Henrik Mkhitaryan (FC Shakhtar Donetsk).

Forwards: Yura Movsisyan (FC Krasnodar), Edgar Manucharyan (FC Pyunik), Gevorg Ghazaryan (FC Pyunik), Marcos Pizzelli (FC Pyunik), Robert Zebelyan (FC Dinamo Minsk).

FYROM
Star striker Goran Pandev, left-back Goran Popov and midfielder Darko Tasevski all return to Mirsad Jonuz's squad after missing the October fixtures through injury. Also included is Muhamed Demiri, who made his debut against China in December. "This is an experienced 20-man squad, who are in top shape, especially our captain Pandev and Popov," Jonuz said. "The match against Ireland is important for both teams, yet not vital, as by the end of the qualifying round there will be many surprises in our group. We will play offensively, with three attackers."

Goalkeepers: Edin Nuredinovski (Ethnikos Achnas FC), Martin Bogatinov (FC Karpaty Lviv), Kristijan Naumovski (FC Dinamo Bucureşti).

Defenders: Boban Grncarov (APOEL FC), Igor Mitreski (Neftçi PFK), Nikolce Noveski (1. FSV Mainz 05), Vance Sikov (Ethnikos Achnas FC), Aleksandar Lazevski (FK Partizan), Goran Popov (FC Dynamo Kyiv).

Midfielders: Velice Sumulikoski (FC Sibir Novosibirsk), Filip Despotovski (İnter Bakı PİK), Darko Tasevski (PFC Levski Sofia), Muhamed Demiri (FC Thun), Mario Gjurovski (FC Metalurh Donetsk), Slavco Georgievski (Neftçi PFK), Armend Alimi (NK Istra).

Forwards: Stevica Ristic (FC Amkar Perm), Ivan Trickovski (APOEL FC), Ilco Naumoski (SV Mattersburg), Goran Pandev (FC Internazionale Milano).

Republic of Ireland
Giovanni Trapattoni has recalled Wigan Athletic FC midfielder James McCarthy for home games against FYROM and Uruguay. McCarthy, 20, has not featured since making his international debut against Brazil in February 2010 and the 29-man squad also includes uncapped trio Keiren Westwood, Darren Randolph and David Forde. They will all be vying for the goalkeeper jersey in the absence of injured Shay Given.

Goalkeepers: Keiren Westwood (Coventry City FC), Darren Randolph (Motherwell FC), David Forde (Millwall FC)

Defenders: Kevin Foley (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), John O'Shea (Manchester United FC), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa FC), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa FC), Seamus Coleman (Everton FC), Sean St Ledger (Preston North End FC), Stephen Kelly (Fulham FC), Darren O'Dea (Ipswich Town FC), Kevin Kilbane (Huddersfield Town AFC)

Midfielders: Marc Wilson (Stoke City FC), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City FC), Darron Gibson (Manchester United FC), Paul Green (Derby County FC), Liam Lawrence (Portsmouth FC), James McCarthy (Wigan Athletic FC), Aiden McGeady (PFC Spartak Moskva), Keith Treacy (Preston North End FC), Keith Andrews (Blackburn Rovers FC), Keith Fahey (Birmingham City FC), Damien Duff (Fulham FC)

Forwards: Robbie Keane (West Ham United FC), Jonathan Walters (Stoke City FC), Kevin Doyle (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Shane Long (Reading FC), Leon Best (Newcastle United FC), Andy Keogh (Bristol City FC)

Russia
Fit again Chelsea FC defender Yuri Zhirkov returns to Dick Advocaat's 23-man squad, with the Dutch coach also calling up FC Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Aleksei Ionov and FC Spartak Moskva defender Evgeni Makeev for the first time. The injured Vladimir Bystrov and dropped Pavel Mamaev miss out for the group leaders, who follow their qualifier in Armenia with a friendly against Qatar.

Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (PFC CSKA Moskva), Vyacheslav Malafeev (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Sergei Ryzhikov (FC Rubin Kazan).

Defenders: Aleksandr Anyukov (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Vasili Berezutski (PFC CSKA Moskva), Aleksei Berezutski (PFC CSKA Moskva), Sergei Ignashevich (PFC CSKA Moskva), Yuri Zhirkov (Chelsea FC), Roman Shishkin (FC Lokomotiv Moskva), Evgeni Makeev (FC Spartak Moskva).

Midfielders: Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (Everton FC), Alan Dzagoev (PFC CSKA Moskva), Igor Denisov (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Konstantin Zyryanov (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Shirokov (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Aleksei Ionov (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Igor Semshov (FC Dinamo Moskva), Dmitri Torbinski (FC Lokomotiv Moskva), Denis Glushakov (FC Lokomotiv Moskva).

Forwards: Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal FC), Aleksandr Kerzhakov (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Pavlyuchenko (Tottenham Hotspur FC), Pavel Pogrebnyak (VfB Stuttgart).

Slovakia
Striker Róbert Vittek returns after a long-term injury, but the big surprises in Vladimír Weiss's squad are three uncapped players from FK Senica, who are exceeding expectations in second place in the Slovakian table. They are defender Filip Lukšík, midfielder Tomáš Kóňa and forward Juraj Piroska, who said: "It was a big surprise for me and also for my team-mates, especially since we have never played for the national team before."

Goalkeepers: Marián Kello (Heart of Midlothian FC), Ján Mucha (Everton FC), Dušan Perniš (Dundee United FC).

Defenders: Marek Čech (West Bromwich Albion FC), Ján Ďurica (FC Lokomotiv Moskva), Filip Lukšík (FK Senica), Peter Pekarík (VfL Wolfsburg), Kornel Saláta (FC Rostov), Martin Škrtel (Liverpool FC), Radoslav Zabavník (1. FSV Mainz 05).

Midfielders: Marek Hamšík (SSC Napoli), Kamil Kopúnek (AS Bari), Tomáš Kóňa (FK Senica), Juraj Kucka (Genoa CFC), Marek Sapara (MKE Ankaragücü), Miroslav Stoch (Fenerbahce SK), Vladimír Weiss (Rangers FC).

Forwards: Filip Hološko (İstanbul BB SK), Erik Jendrišek (SC Freiburg), Juraj Piroska (FK Senica), Filip Šebo (ŠK Slovan Bratislava), Stanislav Šesták (MKE Ankaragücü), Róbert Vittek (MKE Ankaragücü).

Players in italics have withdrawn.

Last updated: 24/03/11 18.14CET

Related information

Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/finals/news/newsid=1605243.html#zhirkov+boosts+group+b+leaders+russia

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