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Sweden bid to bridge gap at summit

Published: Wednesday 1 June 2011, 14.55CET
Sweden will go within three points of the Netherlands at the top of Group E if they win their games in hand while Hungary can keep the pressure on when they travel to San Marino.
Sweden bid to bridge gap at summit
Johan Elmander (right) and Anders Svensson in training to face Moldova ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 1 June 2011, 14.55CET

Sweden bid to bridge gap at summit

Sweden will go within three points of the Netherlands at the top of Group E if they win their games in hand while Hungary can keep the pressure on when they travel to San Marino.

With the Netherlands on holiday, second-placed Sweden can take full advantage and move within three points of the Group E leaders with victories in their games in hand against Moldova and Finland. Gavril Balint's men will be no pushovers, having lost narrowly in Sweden in March, Nordic neighbours Finland will be no pushovers either. San Marino and Finland are also in action while Hungary will look to recover from back-to-back defeats when they visit Serravalle on 7 June. rounds up the team news.

3 June: San Marino v Finland, Moldova v Sweden
7 June:
Sweden v Finland, San Marino v Hungary

Latest standings

Alexander Ring's impressive performances for HJK Helsinki have earned the midfielder a debut call-up to Mixu Paatelainen's first squad as Finland coach. "He has shown great potential and will get his chance," said Paatelainen. Ring, 20, has made two Under-21 appearances, having only recently broken into HJK's first team. Two players not involved are New York Red Bulls midfielder Teemu Tainio, now retired from international football, and 40-year-old Jari Litmanen, also of HJK. "We talked with Jari," added the coach. "I decided not to include him and he fully understood. Jari has shown he still has the ability to turn games and I don't rule him out of future squads."

Goalkeepers: Jukka Lehtovaara (TPS Turku), Lukas Hradecky (Esbjerg fB), Anssi Jaakkola (Kilmarnock FC), Otto Fredrikson (PFC Spartak Nalchik)*.

Defenders: Veli Lampi (Willem II), Niklas Moisander (AZ Alkmaar), Markus Heikkinen (SK Rapid Wien), Petri Pasanen (SV Werder Bremen), Jukka Raitala (SC Paderborn 07), Joona Toivio (Djurgårdens IF), Markus Halsti (Malmö FF).

Midfielders: Kasper Hämäläinen (Djurgårdens IF), Alexander Ring (HJK Helsinki), Tim Sparv (FC Groningen), Riku Riski (RTS Widzew Łódź), Mika Väyrynen (SC Heerenveen), Roman Eremenko (FC Dynamo Kyiv)**, Sebastian Sorsa (HJK Helsinki), Daniel Sjölund (Djurgårdens IF).

Forwards: Alexei Eremenko (Kilmarnock FC), Roni Porokara (KFC Germinal Beerschot Antwerpen), Perparim Hetemaj (Brescia Calcio), Mikael Forssell (Hannover 96), Berat Sadik (HJK Helsinki), Mika Ääritalo (TPS Turku).

San Marino
Coach Giampaolo Mazza's 18-man squad contains no potential debutant as his side chase their first points and goal in Group E. San Marino and Kazakhstan are the only two countries yet to score in qualifying, prompting Mazza to call on all his strike options – veteran Andy Selva, who has eight national-team goals, plus Manuel Marani, Paolo Montagna and Matteo Vitaioli. Marani is the only other player in the party to have netted for San Marino.

Goalkeepers: Aldo Simoncini (AC Cesena), Federico Valentini (SP Tre Penne).

Defenders: Matteo Andreini (SP Tre Fiori), Simone Bacciocchi (AC Juvenes/Dogana), Giacomo Benedettini (SP Tre Fiori), Alessandro Della Valle (Sanvitese ACD), Davide Simoncini (USD Santa Giustina S. Vito), Damiano Vannucci (AC Juvenes/Dogana), Fabio Vitaioli (Sammaurese AC).

Midfielders: Maicol Berretti (AC Formigine), Fabio Bollini (SP La Fiorita), Matteo Bugli (ASD Novasecchiano), Michele Cervellini (A.C. Juvenes/Dogana), Pier Filippo Mazza (A.S.D. Sant’Ermete).

Forwards: Manuel Marani (ASD Riccione), Paolo Montagna (S.S. Cosmos), Andy Selva (Hellas-Verona FC), Matteo Vitaioli (AC San Marino).

Coach Sándor Egervári has called up Olympiacos FC forward Krisztián Németh and SK Sturm Graz's Imre Szabics. The pair replace Ádám Szalai and Gergely Rudolf who miss the friendly against Luxembourg and qualifier against San Marino through injury. Németh returns having made his debut last year while Szabics will hope for his first national-team outing since 2006. "Attila Tököli and Imre Szabics are two strikers with experience and they have been playing well for their clubs," said Egervári. "Krisztián Németh has played more for his team and this is a great opportunity for him."

Goalkeepers: Gábor Király (TSV 1860 München), Ádám Bogdán (Bolton Wanderers FC), Norbert Csernyánszki (Paksi SE).

Defenders: Pál Lázár (Videoton FC), Zoltán Lipták (Videoton FC), Roland Juhász (RSC Anderlecht), Vilmos Vanczák (FC Sion), Zsolt Laczkó (UC Sampdoria), Ádám Pintér (Real Zaragoza).

Midfielders: Zoltán Gera (Fulham FC), Vladimir Koman (UC Sampdoria), Ákos Elek (Videoton FC), József Varga (Debreceni VSC), Krisztián Vadócz (CA Osasuna), Balázs Dzsudzsák (PSV Eindhoven), Tamás Koltai (Győri ETO FC), Tamás Hajnal (VfB Stuttgart), Péter Czvitkovics (Debreceni VSC).

Forwards: Attila Tököli (Kecskeméti TE), Imre Szabics (SK Sturm Graz), Krisztián Németh (FC Olympiakos).

Olof Mellberg returns from suspension while fellow defenders Behrang Safari and Daniel Majstorović are available after injury. They join goalkeeper Pär Hansson – featuring for the first time for a competitive match – in a squad bereft of Marcus Berg and Rasmus Elm due to surgery. "They are hard to break down," Erik Hamrén said of opponents Moldova. "They beat Finland at home and only lost 1-0 to the Netherlands." Hamrén added of the Finns: "Finland have changed coach so we'll see what that means."

Zlatan Ibrahimović has been ruled out of the Moldova match with a foot injury, however, and will stay in Sweden to work on his rehabilitation. "For Zlatan to play on Friday we would have liked to see an improvement today," said Hamrén on Wednesday.  "That doesn't seem to be the case. There is a risk of aggravating the injury further if he were to play on Friday, which would put both matches at risk, so we'll try our utmost to have him ready for Tuesday instead."

Goalkeepers: Andreas Isaksson (PSV Eindhoven), Johan Wiland (FC København), Pär Hansson (Helsingborgs IF).

Defenders: Mikael Antonsson (FC København), Andreas Granqvist (FC Groningen), Mikael Lustig (Rosenborg BK), Daniel Majstorović (Celtic FC), Olof Mellberg (Olympiacos FC), Behrang Safari (FC Basel 1893), Oscar Wendt (FC København).

Midfielders: Emir Bajrami (FC Twente), Kim Källström (Olympique Lyonnais), Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham City FC), Martin Olsson (Blackburn Rovers FC), Anders Svensson (IF Elfsborg), Pontus Wernbloom (AZ Alkmaar), Christian Wilhelmsson (Al-Hilal).

Forwards: Johan Elmander (Bolton Wanderers FC), Alexander Gerndt (Helsingborgs IF), Tobias Hysén (IFK Göteborg), Zlatan Ibrahimović (AC Milan), Ola Toivonen (PSV Eindhoven).

Moldova are without influential captain Alexandru Epureanu through injury while striker Igor Picusciac figures in the 22-man squad despite fitness concerns. FC Lokomotiv Moskva midfielder Stanislav Ivanov is also drafted following a four-year international absence, along with first-time nominees Vladimir Livşiţ, Adrian Caşcaval and the Moldovan league's top scorer, Gheorghe Boghiu.

Goalkeepers: Stanislav Namaşco (FC Kuban Krasnodar), Nicolae Calancea (FC Zimbru Chisinau), Vladimir Livşiţ (FC Costuleni).

Defenders: Petru Racu (IFK Norrköping), Victor Golovatenco (FC Sibir Novosibirsk), Alexandru Cheltuială (FC Olimpia Balti), Igor Armaş (FC Kuban Krasnodar), Vadim Bolohan (PFC Sevastopol), Maxim Potirniche (FC Academia UTM Chisinau), Adrian Caşcaval (FC Academia UTM Chisinau).

Midfielders: Igor Ţîgîrlaş (FC Chornomorets Odesa), Eugeniu Cebotaru (FC Ceahlaul Piatra Neamt), Alexandru Suvorov (MKS Cracovia Kraków), Alexandru Gaţcan (FC Rostov), Denis Zmeu (FC Vaslui), Artur Patraș (FC Timişoara), Stanislav Ivanov (FC Lokomotiv Moskva).

Forwards: Viorel Frunza (FC Neman Grodno), Igor Picusciac (FC Krasnodar), Igor Bugaev (FC Lokomotiv Astana), Anatolie Doroş (FC Irtysh Pavlodar), Gheorghe Boghiu (FC Milsami Orhei).

Players in italics have withdrawn.
Denotes replacement player.
** Playing in Sweden v Finland match only.

Last updated: 03/06/11 14.58CET



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