Group B remains wide open ahead of the concluding fixtures, with Russia, the Republic of Ireland, Armenia and Slovakia all still in contention. Dick Advocaat's team are in the ascendancy – two points clear at the summit – but could be reeled in should they lose in Zilina on Friday evening. The Republic of Ireland, currently second, are also poised to take advantage of any slip-ups, though their final fixture is a testing assignment against surprise pacakage Armenia.
Russia (17 points)
Dick Advocaat has made two changes to the squad for September's qualifiers against FYROM and Republic of Ireland, FC Dinamo Moskva right winger Aleksandr Samedov and FC Rubin Kazan forward Vladimir Dyadyun receiving first call-ups to replace the injured Dmitri Torbinski and Aleksandr Kerzhakov respectively. The pair joined the rest of the party on 3 October as Russia started their preparations for the final two qualifiers.
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), Aleksandr Samedov (FC Dinamo 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), Vladimir Dyadyun (FC Rubin Kazan), Aleksandr Kerzhakov (FC Zenit St Petersburg)*, Roman Pavlyuchenko (Tottenham Hotspur FC), Pavel Pogrebnyak (VfB Stuttgart).
Republic of Ireland (15 pts)
The fit-again Seamus Coleman has been recalled while James McCarthy and Jonathan Walters are also included in Giovanni Trapattoni's 27-man squad. "It is vital that we keep focused as we reach our final two games of this campaign," Trapattoni said. "We will approach them one game at a time. It is also important for us to concentrate on our own results, rather than what is happening in the group. We do not underestimate any of our opponents."
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), Damien Delaney (Ipswich Town FC).
Midfielders: Glenn Whelan (Stoke City FC), James McCarthy (Wigan Athletic FC), Seamus Coleman (Everton FC), Keith Andrews (Ipswich Town FC), Keith Fahey (Birmingham City FC), Andy Keogh (Leeds United AFC), Damien Duff (Fulham FC), Aiden McGeady (FC Spartak Moskva), Stephen Hunt (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Liam Lawrence (Portsmouth FC).
Forwards: Kevin Doyle (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Shane Long (West Bromwich Albion FC), Simon Cox (West Bromwich Albion FC), Jonathan Walters (Stoke City FC).
Armenia (14 pts)
Armenia coach Vardan Minasyan has named a 21-man party that he hopes will gain the two wins needed against FYROM and Republic of Ireland to secure an unlikely play-off spot. Minasyan has made two changes to the squad which scored seven times without reply away to Andorra [3-0] and Slovakia [4-0] in September.
FC Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast defender Denis Tumasyan and KSV Roeselare midfielder Masis Voskanyan both drop out to be replaced by FC Pyunik's Varazdat Aroyan and Aras Özbiliz of AFC Ajax, though the latter is hoping to shake off an injury in time for kick-off in Yerevan.
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 (LKS Lechia Gdańsk), Robert Arzumanyan (Jagiellonia Białystok), Varazdat Aroyan (FC Pyunik).
Midfielders: Artur Edigaryan (FC Banants), Henrik Mkhitaryan (FC Shakhtar Donetsk), Karlen Mkrtchyan (FC Metalurh Donetsk), Marcos Pizzelli (FC Metalurh Donetsk), Zaven Badoyan (FC Impuls), Edgar Malakyan (FC Pyunik), Aras Özbiliz (AFC Ajax).
Forwards: Yura Movsisyan (FC Krasnodar), Edgar Manucharyan (FC Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast), Gevorg Ghazaryan (FC Metalurh Donetsk), Artur Sarkisov (FC Shinnik Yaroslavl).
Slovakia (14 pts)
There are no new faces in Vladimír Weiss's squad as his side host group leaders Russia before travelling to Skopje to face FYROM. Despite sitting fourth in the table the Slovakia coach still believes there is a chance of qualification. "We have to win both games and hope for a little help from the other teams," said Weiss. "But I believe in the power of the team. The game against Russia is a big challenge, but we were able to win in Moscow, so why not again at Zilina?"
Goalkeepers: Ján Mucha (FC Everton), Dušan Perniš (Dundee United FC).
Defenders: Peter Pekarík (Kayserispor), Ľubomír Michalík (Carlisle United FC), Ján Ďurica (FC Lokomotiv Moskva), Kornel Saláta (FC Rostov), Martin Škrtel (Liverpool FC) Tomáš Hubočan (FC Zenit St. Petersburg), Marek Čech (Trabzonspor AŞ), Radoslav Zabavník (FSV Mainz 05).
Midfielders: Juraj Kucka (Genoa CFC), Róbert Jež (KSP Polonia Warszawa), Marek Hamšík (SSC Napoli), Igor Žofčák (ŠK Slovan Bratislava), Vladimír Weiss (RCD Espanyol), Miroslav Karhan (FC Spartak Trnava), Karim Guédé (ŠK Slovan Bratislava), Miroslav Stoch (Fenerbahce AŞ).
Forwards: Juraj Piroska (FK Senica), Filip Hološko (Beşiktaş JK), Filip Šebo (ŠK Slovan Bratislava), Erik Jendrišek (Freiburg SC).
FYROM (7 pts)
Nikolce Noveski and Muhamed Demiri return from suspension after missing the 1-0 win against Andorra, while Aleksandar Lazevski has recovered from the leg injury which sidelined him for five months to take his place in the 20-man squad. Samir Fazli and Aleksandar Trajkovski, who made their debuts last time out, along with Feran Hasani and Stefan Ristovski, have been left out and included in the Under-21 squad.
"I am satisfied with the players who played in the previous two matches against Russia and Andorra," said coach John Toshack. "That's why most of them are here for the games against Armenia and Slovakia as well. We'll analyse this match and continue to use the coming games to create the best possible team for 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying."
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), Aleksandar Lazevski (FK Partizan).
Midfielders: Muhamed Demiri (FC Thun), Muarem Muarem (FK Rabotnicki), Muhamed Huseini (FK Shkëndija 79), Velice Sumulikoski (FC Sibir Novosibirsk), Vlatko Grozdanoski (FK Vardar), Mario Gjurovski (FC Metalurh Donetsk)**.
Forwards: Goran Pandev (SSC Napoli)*, Ivan Tričkovski (APOEL FC), Agim Ibraimi (NK Maribor)*, Mirko Ivanovski (Arka Gdynia), Filip Ivanovski (FK Vardar)**.
Andorra (0 pts)
Andorra coach Jesús Álvarez is without injured trio Manolo Jiménez, Xavi Andorrà and Jordi Rubio while Marc Vales is suspended for the visit of the Republic of Ireland and the trip to Russia. Ildefons Lima returns to the squad while UE Sant Julià midfielder Carlos Peppe receives his first call-up. "Ireland are a team who have found form and they will make us work hard in our own area," said Álvarez. "Our players know that this is our last home qualifying game and will give their all in order to make it a special occasion."
Goalkeepers: José Antonio Gómes (CF San Rafael), Iván Perianes (UE Sant Juliá), Josep Rivas (UE Santa Coloma).
Defenders: Marc Bernaus (FC Girona), Emili Garcia (FC Andorra), Ildefons Lima (AC Bellinoza), David Maneiro (FC Andorra), Alexandre Gutierrez (UE Santa Coloma), Alex Somoza (FC Andorra), Cristian Martínez (FC Andorra).
Midfielders: Josep Ayala (FC Andorra), Marc García (Atlético de Monzon), Oscar Sonejee (FC Santa Coloma), Daniel Mejías (FC Andorra), Carlos Peppe (UE Sant Julià), Marc Pujol (FC Andorra), Joaquim Salvat (UE Sant Julià), Marcio Vieira (Atlético de Monzon).
Forwards: Sebastiàn Gómez (UE Sant Julià), Ivan Lorenzo (UD Alcampell), Sergio Moreno (USD Forte Dei Marmi Calcio), Juli Sánchez (FC Santa Coloma), Fernando Silva (CD Guadiana).
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