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Scotland seek to make most of home advantage

Published: Monday 29 August 2011, 19.26CET
While Spain attempt to make it six wins out of six in Group I, Scotland aim to trouble the Czech Republic in second place in the first of two key qualifiers in four days for Craig Levein's men.
Scotland seek to make most of home advantage
The Czech Republic (in red) are in the driving seat to finish second ©Getty Images
 
Published: Monday 29 August 2011, 19.26CET

Scotland seek to make most of home advantage

While Spain attempt to make it six wins out of six in Group I, Scotland aim to trouble the Czech Republic in second place in the first of two key qualifiers in four days for Craig Levein's men.

Scotland have the chance to enhance their prospects of a second-place finish in Group I when they host the Czech Republic – the current occupants of that position − and Lithuania. Craig Levein's men, who have played a game less than everyone else in the section, would close to within two points of their opponents on Friday with a victory at Hampden Park. Top of the group, Spain will be confident of a sixth successive UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying win when they entertain Liechtenstein.

2 September: Lithuania v Liechtenstein, Scotland v Czech Republic

6 September: Scotland v Lithuania, Spain v Liechtenstein

Latest standings

Spain (15 points)
Vicente del Bosque has drafted six players from the UEFA European Under-21 Championship-winning squad for the friendly against Chile and home qualifier against Liechtenstein. FC Barcelona's Martín Montoya, Alberto Botía of Real Sporting de Gijón and Club Atlético de Madrid's Álvaro Domínguez – all defenders – could make senior international debuts in the absence of injured Barça pair Carles Puyol and Gerard Piqué. Fellow U21 champions Thiago Alcántara, Javi Martínez and Juan Mata are also included. Del Bosque said: "We are interested in observing some of the younger boys who have already shown their quality with the youth teams."

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid CF), Pepe Reina (Liverpool CF), Víctor Valdés (FC Barcelona).

Defenders: Álvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid CF), Raúl Albiol (Real Madrid CF), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid CF), Alberto Botía (Real Sporting de Gijón), Álvaro Domínguez (Club Atlético de Madrid), Martín Montoya (FC Barcelona).

Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid CF), Sergio Busquets (FC Barcelona), Santiago Cazorla (Málaga CF), Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona), Thiago Alcántara (FC Barcelona), Xavi Hernández (FC Barcelona), Javi Martínez (Athletic Club), Cesc Fábregas (FC Barcelona).

Forwards: David Villa (FC Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City FC), Fernando Llorente (Athletic Club), Fernando Torres (Chelsea FC), Pedro Rodríguez (FC Barcelona), Álvaro Negredo (Sevilla FC), Juan Mata (Chelsea FC).

Czech Republic (9 pts)
The uncapped Jan Laštůvka and Jaroslav Drobný are vying for the goalkeeper's jersey against Scotland after Petr Čech was ruled out with a knee injury. "Čech is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and his absence is blow for us. I hope we can replace him well," said coach Michal Bílek. Uncapped 1. FK Příbram custodian Aleš Hruška is also in the squad, who later face Ukraine in a 6 September friendly, while the versatile Petr Jiráček takes the number of players from FC Viktoria Plzeň to four.

Goalkeepers: Jaroslav Drobný (Hamburger SV), Jan Laštůvka (FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk), Aleš Hruška (1. FK Příbram).

Defenders: Zdeněk Pospěch (1. FSV Mainz 05), Jan Rajnoch (MKE Ankaragücü), Tomáš Sivok (Beşiktaş JK), Theodor Gebreselassie (FC Slovan Liberec), Roman Hubník (Hertha BSC Berlin), Daniel Pudil (KRC Genk), Petr Jiráček (FC Viktoria Plzeň), Michal Kadlec (Bayer 04 Leverkusen).

Midfielders: Tomáš Rosický (Arsenal FC), Tomáš Hübschman (FC Shakhtar Donetsk), Daniel Kolář (FC Viktoria Plzeň), Jaroslav Plašil (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), Kamil Vacek (AC Sparta Praha), Jan Rezek (Anorthosis Famagusta FC), Václav Pilař (FC Viktoria Plzeň), Milan Petržela (FC Viktoria Plzeň).

Forwards: Milan Baroš (Galatasaray AŞ), David Lafata (FK Jablonec), Tomáš Pekhart (1. FC Nürnberg).

Scotland (4 pts)
Craig Levein is delighted to welcome back Manchester United FC midfielder Darren Fletcher into his 25-man squad to face the Czech Republic and Lithuania at Hampden Park. The 27-year-old has been absent for five months with a debilitating stomach virus but returns alongside Barry Robson. "We have two crucial matches but I feel we're ready," said Levein. "I'm thrilled to have Darren back, arguably he's the best player in the squad. He tells me it's the best he's felt for a year." There is no place for Celtic FC midfielder Kris Commons, while Steven Whittaker misses out against the Czechs through suspension.

Goalkeepers: Allan McGregor (Rangers FC), Matthew Gilks (Blackpool FC), Iain Turner (Preston North End FC).

Defenders: Phil Bardsley (Sunderland AFC), Christophe Berra (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Gary Caldwell (Wigan Athletic FC), Stephen Crainey (Blackpool FC), Alan Hutton (Tottenham Hotspur FC), Steven Whittaker (Rangers FC), Danny Wilson (Liverpool FC), Grant Hanley (Blackburn Rovers FC).

Midfielders: Charlie Adam (Liverpool FC), Barry Bannan (Aston Villa FC), Don Cowie (Cardiff City FC), Scott Brown (Celtic FC), Graham Dorrans (West Bromwich Albion FC), Darren Fletcher (Manchester United FC), James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion FC), Barry Robson (Middlesbrough FC), Robert Snodgrass (Leeds United FC), James Forrest (Celtic FC).

Forwards: David Goodwillie (Blackburn Rovers FC), Kenny Miller (Cardiff City FC), Craig Mackail-Smith (Brighton and Hove Albion FC)*, Steven Naismith (Rangers FC).

*Withdrawn

Lithuania (4 pts)
Lithuania will be deprived of experienced defender Marius Stankevičius when they tackle Liechtenstein and Scotland. The 30-year-old, who joined S.S. Lazio this summer, is struggling with an unspecified injury. With veteran Andrius Skerla a doubt with a back problem and regular left-back Ramūnas Radavičius suspended for the first game, coach Raimondas Žutautas has plenty to ponder defensively.

Goalkeepers: Arūnas Klimavičius (FC Zhetysu Taldykorgan), Žydrūnas Karčemarskas (Gaziantepspor), Ernestas Šetkus (Olympiakos Nicosia FC), Vytautas Černiauskas (FC Vaslui), Deividas Česnauskis (Bakı FK), Povilas Leimonas (FK Sūduva).

Defenders: Marius Stankevičius (S.S. Lazio), Andrius Skerla (Jagiellonia Białystok), Tadas Kijanskas (Jagiellonia Białystok), Marius Žaliukas (Heart of Midlothian FC), Ramūnas Radavičius (FK Ekranas).

Midfielders: Kęstutis Ivaškevičius (Bnei Yehuda Tel-Aviv FC), Saulius Mikoliūnas (FC Arsenal Kyiv), Deividas Šemberas (PFC CSKA Moskva), Edgaras Česnauskis (FC Rostov), Mindaugas Panka (RTS Widzew Łódź), Mantas Savėnas (unattached), Arvydas Novikovas (Heart of Midlothian FC), Marius Papšys (1. FK Příbram), Linas Pilibaitis (Győri ETO FC).

Forwards: Tomas Danilevičius (S.S. Juve Stabia), Darvydas Šernas (Zagłębie Lubin), Tadas Labukas (SK Brann), Ričardas Beniušis (FK Sūduva).

Liechtenstein (3 pts)
Hans-Peter Zaugg hopes a blend of youth and experience can help his side to a repeat of June's 2-0 victory over Lithuania when the teams meet again on 2 September, before the Alpine nation take on Spain. The likes of Mario Frick, Martin Stocklasa and Peter Jehle are complemented by youngsters Daniel Kaufmann, Nicolas Hasler, Rony Hanselmann and Sandro Wieser, while David Hasler is recalled after a knee injury.

Goalkeepers: Peter Jehle (FC Vaduz), Cengiz Bicer (Mersin Idmanyurdu), Benjamin Büchel (USV Eschen/Mauren).

Defenders: Daniel Kaufmann (USV Eschen/Mauren), Yves Oehri (FC Vaduz), Martin Rechsteiner (FC Vaduz), Marco Ritzberger (FC Vaduz), Martin Stocklasa (FC St Gallen), Michael Stocklasa (USV Eschen/Mauren).

Midfielders: Franz Burgmeier (FC Vaduz), Martin Büchel (FC Zürich), Rony Hanselmann (FC Balzers), Nicolas Hasler (FC Vaduz), Michele Polverino (unattached), Sandro Wieser (FC Basel 1893).

Forwards: Thomas Beck (FC Balzers), Mario Frick (FC Balzers), David Hasler (FC Vaduz).

Last updated: 04/09/11 19.42CET

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