The likely winner of UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group B will become clearer over the next week when two key matches take place between the three teams level on points at the top. First, the Republic of Ireland welcome third-placed Slovakia, before taking on second-placed Russia in Moscow four days later.
Republic of Ireland (13 points)
Giovanni Trapattoni has recalled Aiden McGeady. The winger, based in Russia with FC Spartak Moskva, missed Ireland's friendly with Croatia earlier this month because of injury but has since returned to full fitness, making his first appearance since June as a substitute in Sunday's 2-2 draw with PFC CSKA Moskva. Birmingham City FC midfielder Keith Fahey, however, is out with a groin injury.
Goalkeepers: Shay Given (Aston Villa FC), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland AFC), David Forde (Millwall FC).
Defenders: John O'Shea (Sunderland AFC), Kevin Foley (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Stephen Kelly (Fulham FC), Stephen Ward (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa FC), Kevin Kilbane (Derby County FC), Sean St Ledger (Leicester City FC), Darren O'Dea (Leeds United AFC).
Midfielders: Glenn Whelan (Stoke City FC), Darron Gibson (Manchester United FC), Keith Andrews (Ipswich Town FC), Andy Keogh (Leeds United AFC), Aiden McGeady (FC Spartak Moskva), Damien Duff (Fulham FC), Stephen Hunt (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Liam Lawrence (Portsmouth FC), Keith Treacy (Burnley FC).
Forwards: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Kevin Doyle (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Shane Long (West Bromwich Albion FC), Simon Cox (West Bromwich Albion FC).
Russia (13 pts)
Dick Advocaat named the same squad that convened for Russia's 1-0 friendly victory against Serbia on 10 August; however, injured goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev has been replaced by Anton Shunin of FC Dinamo Moskva. CSKA Moskva defender Sergei Ignashevich is included despite being suspended for the visit of FYROM on Friday.
Goalkeepers: Vyacheslav Malafeev (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Anton Shunin (FC Dinamo Moskva)
Defenders: Aleksandr Anyukov (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Vasili Berezutski (PFC CSKA Moskva), Aleksei Berezutski (PFC CSKA Moskva), Sergei Ignashevich (PFC CSKA Moskva), Yuri Zhirkov (FC Anzhi Makhachkala), Roman Shishkin (FC Lokomotiv Moskva).
Midfielders: Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (Everton FC), Denis Glushakov (FC Lokomotiv Moskva), Dmitri Torbinski (FC Lokomotiv Moskva), Igor Denisov (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Konstantin Zyryanov (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Shirokov (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Alan Dzagoev (PFC CSKA Moskva), Igor Semshov (FC Dinamo Moskva).
Forwards: Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal FC), Aleksandr Kerzhakov (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Roman Pavlyuchenko (Tottenham Hotspur FC), Pavel Pogrebnyak (VfB Stuttgart).
Slovakia (13 pts)
Vladimír Weiss has reintroduced midfielder Miroslav Stoch as Slovakia prepare to play the Republic of Ireland and Armenia. ŠK Slovan Bratislava trio Filip Šebo, Igor Žofčák and Karim Guedé return to the international scene buoyed by their club's triumph over AS Roma in the UEFA Europa League play-offs. "It will be tough in Ireland but I hope our experienced players are able to stay calm," said Weiss, who also became Slovan coach in early August. "Armenia also have a strong squad and play the best football in our group."
Goalkeepers: Ján Mucha (Everton FC), Marián Kello (Heart of Midlothian FC).
Defenders: Peter Pekarík (VfL Wolfsburg), Martin Škrtel (Liverpool FC), Ľubomír Michalík (Carlisle United FC), Ján Ďurica (FC Lokomotiv Moskva), Kornel Saláta (FC Rostov), Tomáš Hubočan (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Marek Čech (West Bromwich Albion FC).
Midfielders: Karim Guédé, Igor Žofčák (both ŠK Slovan Bratislava), Juraj Kucka (Genoa CFC), Vladimír Weiss Jr (Manchester City FC), Miroslav Stoch (Fenerbahçe SK), Miroslav Karhan (FC Spartak Trnava), Róbert Jež (KSP Polonia Warsaw), Marek Hamšík (SSC Napoli).
Forwards: Filip Hološko (Beşiktaş JK), Filip Šebo (ŠK Slovan Bratislava), Erik Jendrišek (SC Freiburg), Róbert Vittek (MKE Ankaragücü), Stanislav Šesták (MKE Ankaragücü).
Armenia (8 pts)
FC Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast defender Denis Tumasyan is a first-time call-up as Armenia look to repeat 4-0 and 3-1 victories against Andorra and Slovakia when they face the same opponents away from home. Tumasyan will follow in the footsteps of another player from the Russian second tier if he makes his debut, FC Shinnik Yaroslavl forward Artur Sarkisov, who won his first cap in the 3-0 defeat in Lithuania on 10 August.
Goalkeepers: Roman Berezovsky (FC Khimki), Gevorg Kasparov (FC Mika).
Defenders: Sargis Hovsepyan (FC Pyunik), Artak Edigaryan (FC Pyunik), Hrayr Mkoyan (FC Mika), Artur Yuspashyan (FC Pyunik), Valeri Aleksanyan (Sanat Naft FC), Levon Hayrapetyan (Legia Warszawa), Robert Arzumanyan (Jagiellonia Białystok), Denis Tumasyan (FC Ural).
Midfielders: Artur Edigaryan (FC Banants), Henrik Mkhitaryan (FC Shakhtar Donetsk), Karlen Mkrtchyan (FC Metalurh Donetsk), Marcos Pizzelli (FC Metalurh Donetsk), Zaven Badoyan (FC Impuls), Masis Voskanyan (KSV Roeselare), Edgar Malakyan (FC Pyunik).
Forwards: Yura Movsisyan (FC Krasnodar), Edgar Manucharyan (FC Ural), Gevorg Ghazaryan (FC Metalurh Donetsk), Artur Sarkisov (FC Shinnik Yaroslavl).
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (4 pts)
John Toshack has picked three uncapped players in his first squad as FYROM coach for the matches against Russia and Andorra. Australian-born right-back Daniel Georgievski is a first-time nominee along with domestic-based playmakers Muarem Muarem and Muhamed Huseini. First-choice goalkeeper Tome Pacovski has overcome the leg injury which had sidelined him since August 2010. "My main goal is to lead Macedonia to the 2014 [FIFA] World Cup," said Toshack, who has omitted several regulars. "I will use our remaining qualifiers to make a proper analysis of every potential squad member so we can produce a strong team."
Goalkeepers: Tome Pacovski (K. Beerschot AC), Martin Bogatinov (FC Karpaty Lviv).
Defenders: Daniel Georgievski (HNK Šibenik), Goran Popov (FC Dynamo Kyiv), Vlade Lazarevski (Amiens SC), Vance Sikov (FC Volyn Lutsk), Daniel Mojsov (FK Vojvodina), Igor Mitreski (Neftçi PFK), Nikolce Noveski (1. FSV Mainz 05), Robert Petrov (Olimpik-Şüvälan PFK).
Midfielders: Muhamed Demiri (FC Thun), Muarem Muarem (FK Rabotnicki), Muhamed Huseini (FK Shkëndija 79), Darko Tasevski (PFC Levski Sofia), Velice Sumulikoski (FC Sibir Novosibirsk), Vlatko Grozdanoski (FK Vardar), Feran Hasani (FK Shkëndija 79), Stefan Ristovski (FC Crotone)**.
Forwards: Goran Pandev (FC Internazionale Milano), Samir Fazli (sc Heerenveen), Ivan Trickovski (APOEL FC), Agim Ibraimi (NK Maribor), Mirko Ivanovski (Arka Gdynia), Aleksandar Trajkovski (SV Zulte Waregem)**.
Andorra (0 pts)
Jesús Álvarez, whose side are still looking to get off the mark in the section, has been boosted by Atlètic de Monzó midfielder Marcio Vieira's availability following a muscle injury. Iván Lorenzo also returns having missed the 1-0 defeat by Slovakia in June. Xavi Andorrà is suspended while Manolo Jiménez is injured.
Goalkeepers: José Antonio Gómes (CF San Rafael), Josep Rivas (UE Santa Coloma), Ivan Perianes (UE Sant Julià).
Defenders: Ildefons Lima (AC Bellinzona), Alexandre Gutierrez (UE Santa Coloma), Jordi Rubio (UE Santa Coloma), Alex Somoza (FC Andorra), Oscar Sonejee (FC Santa Coloma), Emili García (FC Andorra), Marc Bernaus (FC Girona).
Midfielders: Josep Ayala (FC Andorra), Daniel Mejías (FC Andorra), Marc Pujol (FC Andorra), Marcio Vieira (Atlètic de Monzó), Cristian Martínez (FC Andorra), Marc Vales (CD Atlético Baleares), Ivan Lorenzo (UD Alcampell), Joaquim Salvat (UE Sant Julià), Marc García (Atlético de Monzon), Sergio Moreno (USD Forte Dei Marmi Calcio).
Forwards: Fernando Silva (CD Guadiana), Julià Sánchez (FC Santa Coloma), Sebastiàn Gómez (UE Sant Julià).
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