Nothing separates Russia, Slovakia and the Republic of Ireland at the top of Group B with all three countries on ten points going into the latest round of matches. Russia host fourth-placed Armenia, the side who held them to a goalless draw in Yerevan last time out, while Slovakia will look to avoid a potential banana skin when they welcome winless Andorra and the Republic of Ireland visit the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. UEFA.com rounds up the team news.
Coach Jesús Álvarez will wait until the last possible moment before trimming his squad to face section leaders Slovakia in Bratislava. The former Andorran international has named an initial 25 players as he seeks to steer his country to their first points, having lost all five fixtures so far.
Goalkeepers: José Antonio Gómes (CF San Rafael), Ferran Pol (FC Andorra), Josep Rivas UE Santa Coloma).
Defenders: Jordi Escura (FC Alcarràs), Ildefons Lima (AC Bellinzona), Óscar Sonejee (FC Santa Coloma), Emil Josep García (FC Andorra), Marc Bernaus (FC Girona), David Maneiro (FC Andorra), Adrian Rodrígues (FC Andorra), Alex Somoza (FC Andorra).
Midfielders: Xavi Andorrá (FC Andorra), Josep Ayala (FC Andorra), Manel Jiménez (FC Santa Coloma), Daniel Mejías (FC Andorra), Marc Pujol (FC Andorra), Joaquim Salvat (UE Sant Julià), Marcio Vieira (Atlético de Monzon), Cristian Martínez (CD Mensajero), Marc Vales (Atlético de Monzon), Marc García (CD Pomar).
Forwards: Sebastiàn Gomez (UE Sant Julià), Juli Sánchez (FC Santa Coloma), Fernando José Silva (CD Guadiana), Jordi Rubio (UE Santa Coloma).
Forward Zaven Badoyan could make his debut after being drafted into Vardan Minasyan's 21-man squad to play Russia. Levon Pachajyan and Agvan Mkrtchyan are recalled having missed the goalless draw in March's return fixture which left Armenia fourth, two points off the summit. A lack of match practice rules out attacker Robert Zebelyan while Minasyan is also concerned at goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky and striker Yura Movsisyan's current lack of domestic action.
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), Artur Yuspashyan (FC Pyunik), Valeri Aleksanyan (Ulisses FC), Levon Hayrapetyan (Legia Warszawa), Agvan Mkrtchyan (FC Mika).
Midfielders: Artur Edigaryan (PAS Hamedan FC), Henrik Mkhitaryan (FC Shakhtar Donetsk), Levon Pachajyan (Sanat Naft FC), Karlen Mkrtchyan (FC Metalurh Donetsk), Artak Dashyan (FC Banants), Gevorg Ghazaryan (FC Pyunik), Marcos Pizzelli (FC Pyunik), Artak Grigoryan (Ulisses FC).
Mirsad Jonuz has selected an attack-minded squad as FYROM target a memorable debut at the newly completed National Arena Filip II Macedonian against the Republic of Ireland on 4 June. Strikers Aco Stojkov and Bajram Fetai have been drafted in along with playmaker Ferhan Hasani – the only domestic-based player involved. Midfielder Stefan Ristovski, 19, is a first-time call-up.
Goalkeepers: Edin Nuredinovski (Ethnikos Achnas FC), Martin Bogatinov (FC Karpaty Lviv).
Defenders: Boban Grncarov (APOEL FC), Daniel Mojsov (FK Vojvodina), Nikolce Noveski (1. FSV Mainz 05), Vance Sikov (Ethnikos Achnas FC), Goran Popov (FC Dynamo Kyiv).
Midfielders: Stefan Ristovski (Parma FC), Velice Sumulikoski (FC Sibir Novosibirsk), Filip Despotovski (FC Inter Baku), Muhamed Demiri (FC Thun), Mario Gjurovski (FC Metalurh Donetsk), Ferhan Hasani (FK Skendija 79).
Forwards: Bajram Fetai (Lyngby BK), Aco Stojkov (FC Aarau), Ivan Trickovski (APOEL FC), Ilco Naumoski (SV Mattersburg), Goran Pandev (FC Internazionale Milano), Duan Savi (FC Pakhtakor Tashkent)*, Blagoja Todorovski (FK Rabotnicki)*.
Republic of Ireland
Ireland head to FYROM fresh from winning the Nations Cup in Dublin with wins against Northern Ireland (5-0) and Scotland (1-0). Robbie Keane got the goal in the latter game to take his international tally to 49, the same as England's all-time leading scorer Sir Bobby Charlton. "I hope he beats that record in Macedonia," said manager Giovanni Trapattoni. "It's good to see Robbie looking so confident, his personality is very important." John O'Shea, Shane Long, Kevin Kilbane and Aiden McGeady make the trip to Skopje having skipped the Nations Cup due to club commitments.
Goalkeepers: Shay Given (Manchester City FC), David Forde (Millwall FC), Darren Randolph (Motherwell FC).
Defenders: Stephen Kelly (Fulham FC), Kevin Foley (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Stephen Ward (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Kevin Kilbane (Huddersfield Town AFC), Darren O'Dea (Celtic FC), Sean St Ledger (Preston North End FC), Paul McShane (Hull City FC), Damien Delaney (Ipswich Town FC), John O'Shea (Manchester United FC).
Midfielders: Glenn Whelan (Stoke City FC), Stephen Hunt (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Aiden McGeady (FC Spartak Moskva), Keith Fahey (Birmingham City FC), Keith Andrews (Blackburn Rovers FC), Liam Lawrence (Portsmouth FC), Seamus Coleman (Everton FC), Keith Treacy (Preston North End FC).
Coach Dick Advocaat recalls FC Lokomotiv Moskva defender Renat Yanbaev for the Armenia qualifier on 4 June and the Cameroon friendly three days later. The left-back, absent from the last internationals in March, features in Advocaat's 20-man squad alongside inexperienced club-mate Denis Glushakov. FC Dinamo Moskva's Igor Semshov also figures despite serving a five-game domestic ban, but midfielder Roman Shirokov misses out through injury.
Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeev (PFC CSKA Moskva), Vyacheslav Malafeev (FC Zenit St Petersburg).
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), Renat Yanbaev (FC Lokomotiv Moskva).
Midfielders: Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (Everton FC), Alan Dzagoev (PFC CSKA Moskva), Igor Denisov (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Konstantin Zyryanov (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Igor Semshov (FC Dinamo Moskva), Dmitri Torbinski (FC Lokomotiv Moskva), Denis Glushakov (FC Lokomotiv Moskva), Aleksandr Ryazantsev (FC Rubin Kazan), Aleksandr Sheshukov (FC Spartak Moskva.
Centre-back Erik Číkoš receives his first call-up after catching the eye in Wisła Kraków's Polish league triumph. "Erik has made a name for himself so I will give him a chance," said coach Vladimír Weiss, whose side host Andorra. Slovakia are shorn of Vladimír Weiss Jr and Marek Sapara through injury while Miroslav Stoch and keeper Ján Mucha are suspended.
Goalkeepers: Marián Kello (Heart of Midlothian FC), Dušan Perniš (Dundee United FC).
Defenders: Marek Čech (West Bromwich Albion FC), Ján Ďurica (FC Lokomotiv Moskva), Martin Škrtel (Liverpool FC), Tomáš Hubočan (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Kornel Saláta (FC Rostov), Erik Čikoš (Wisła Kraków).
Midfielders: Juraj Kucka (Genoa CFC), Róbert Jež (Górnik Zabrze), Kamil Kopúnek (AS Bari), Miroslav Karhan (1. FSV Mainz), Marek Hamšík (SSC Napoli), Igor Žofčák (ŠK Slovan Bratislava).
Forwards: Róbert Vittek (MKE Ankaragücü), Stanislav Šesták (MKE Ankaragücü), Filip Hološko (Istanbul BB SK), Filip Šebo (ŠK Slovan Bratislava), Erik Jendrišek (SC Freiburg), Adam Nemec (1. FC Kaiserslautern).
Players in italics have withdrawn.
*Denotes replacement player.
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