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France look to fend off Bosnia and Herzegovina

Published: Tuesday 4 October 2011, 14.45CET
France hold the edge in Group D but, without Franck Ribéry, Karim Benzema and Bacary Sagna, they first face Albania before welcoming closest rivals Bosnia and Herzegovina to Paris.
France look to fend off Bosnia and Herzegovina
Laurent Blanc is without a number of players ©Getty Images
 
Published: Tuesday 4 October 2011, 14.45CET

France look to fend off Bosnia and Herzegovina

France hold the edge in Group D but, without Franck Ribéry, Karim Benzema and Bacary Sagna, they first face Albania before welcoming closest rivals Bosnia and Herzegovina to Paris.

France head into their final two qualifiers just a point clear of nearest challengers Bosnia and Herzegovina. They will look to cement that position with victory against Albania first up, though they then face the prospect of a winner-takes-all meeting with Safet Sušić's side in Paris.

7 October: Bosnia and Herzegovina v Luxembourg, Romania v Belarus, France v Albania

11 October: Albania v Romania, France v Bosnia and Herzegovina

Latest standings

France (17 points)
Coach Laurent Blanc has enlisted Bafétimbi Gomis in place of the injured Guillaume Hoarau. The in-form Olympique Lyonnais striker represents the only change in personnel since France faced Albania and Romania in early September. "Bringing him on board was an obvious choice given how well he's performed this season," said Blanc. Gomis will aim to add to his tally of five caps, the last of which came in October 2009. As well as Hoarau, Karim Benzema and Franck Ribéry have withdrawn from the squad, but Blanc is hopeful Éric Abidal will overcome a knock picked up at the weekend.

Goalkeepers: Cédric Carrasso (FC Girondins de Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Olympique Lyonnais), Steve Mandanda (Olympique de Marseille).

Defenders: Éric Abidal (FC Barcelona), Patrice Evra (Manchester United FC), Younès Kaboul (Tottenham Hotspur FC), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal FC), Adil Rami (Valencia CF), Anthony Réveillère (Olympique Lyonnais), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal FC)*, Mathieu Debuchy (LOSC Lille Métropole),
Jérémy Mathieu (Valencia CF)**.

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United FC), Alou Diarra (Olympique de Marseille), Yann M'Vila (Stade Rennais FC), Florent Malouda (Chelsea FC), Marvin Martin (FC Sochaux-Montbéliard), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain FC)*, Samir Nasri (Manchester City FC), Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique de Marseille).

Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid CF)*, Kevin Gameiro (Paris Saint-Germain FC), Bafétimbi Gomis (Olympique Lyonnais), Loïc Rémy (Olympique de Marseille), Jérémy Menez (Paris Saint-Germain FC), Franck Ribéry (FC Bayern München)*, Djibril Cissé (S.S. Lazio)**.

*withdrawn
**called up

Bosnia and Herzegovina (16 pts)
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim's Sejad Salihović misses out on a place in Safet Sušić's 21-man party as he recovers from an injury sustained in his country's last outing, the 1-0 home win against Belarus. Club-mate Vedad Ibišević returns to bolster Sušić's forward line as his side go in search of the two victories that would give them top spot. "We respect Luxembourg and to do otherwise is not an option," said Sušić. "We must ensure our place in the play-offs, then we will go to Paris and try to win a direct route to EURO 2012."

Goalkeepers: Kenan Hasagić (İstanbul BB SK), Asmir Begović (Stoke City FC), Asmir Avdukić (FK Borac Banja Luka).

Defenders: Boris Pandža (KV Mechelen), Saša Papac (Rangers FC), Emir Spahić (Sevilla FC), Adnan Mravac (SV Mattersburg), Mensur Mujdža (SC Freiburg).

Midfielders: Miralem Pjanić (AS Roma), Elvir Rahimić (PFC CSKA Moskva), Zvjezdan Misimović (FC Dinamo Moskva), Adnan Zahirović (PFC Spartak Nalchik), Haris Medunjanin (Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC), Senad Lulić (S.S. Lazio), Semir Štilić (KKS Lech Poznań), Darko Maletić (FC Aktobe), Senijad Ibričić (FC Lokomotiv Moskva).

Forwards: Edin Džeko (Manchester City FC), Zlatan Muslimović (no club), Ermin Zec (Gençlerbirliği SK), Vedad Ibišević (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim).

Romania (12 pts)
Boss Victor Piţurcă is realistic about Romania's slim chances of claiming a play-off berth but will keep believing until their elimination is confirmed. "We have to win these two matches in order to get points and improve our coefficient but who knows? Luxembourg might produce a miracle in Bosnia because anything can happen in football. As long as we have a chance, we have to believe in it." Adrian Mutu and Gabriel Tamaş are back after three-match suspensions imposed by Piţurcă, while Adrian Cristea is recalled after a two-year break.

Goalkeepers: Costel Pantilimon (Manchester City FC), Silviu Lung (FC Astra Ploieşti), Cristian Bălgrădean (FC Dinamo Bucureşti).

Defenders: Srdjan Luchin (FC Dinamo București), Alexandru Măţel (FC Astra Ploieşti), Gabriel Tamaş (West Bromwich Albion FC), Dorin Goian (Rangers FC), Marius Găman (FC Astra Ploieşti), Cosmin Moţi (FC Dinamo Bucureşti), Răzvan Raţ (FC Shakhtar Donetsk), Iasmin Latovlevici (FC Steaua Bucureşti).

Midfielders: Bănel Nicoliţă (AS Saint-Étienne), Gabriel Torje (Udinese Calcio), Costin Lazăr (PAOK FC), Răzvan Cociş (FC Rostov), Alexandru Bourceanu (FC Steaua Bucureşti), Florin Gardoş (FC Steaua Bucureşti), Cristian Tănase (FC Steaua Bucureşti), Adrian Cristea (FC Universitatea Cluj), Lucian Sânmărtean (FC Vaslui).

Forwards: Adrian Mutu (AC Cesena), Ciprian Marica (FC Schalke 04), Gheorghe Bucur (FC Kuban Krasnodar), Bogdan Stancu (Orduspor).

Belarus (12 pts)
Coach Bernd Stange is without suspended regulars Anton Putilo, Igor Shitov, Timofei Kalachev, Aleksandr Martynovich and Vitali Trubilo, while injuries deprive him of Aleksandr Yurevich, Vitali Rodionov, Aleksandr Hleb, Yan Tigorev, Dmitri Molosh and Vitali Kutuzov. "Life goes on," said Stange. "We have to go to Romania with confidence, without any fear and to play committed football and get a decent result. We will see how we play in this difficult situation."

Goalkeepers: Sergei Veremko (PFC Krylya Sovetov Samara), Yuri Zhevnov (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Aleksandr Gutor (FC BATE Borisov).

Defenders: Dmitri Verkhovtsov (FC Naftan Novopolotsk), Maksim Bordachev (FC BATE Borisov), Sergei Omelyanchuk (FC Terek Grozny), Yegor Filipenko (FC BATE Borisov), Maksim Zhavnerchik (FC Kuban Krasnodar), Pavel Plaskonny (FC Neman Grodno), Oleg Veretilo (FC Dinamo Minsk).

Midfielders: Aleksandr Kulchiy (FC Krasnodar), Sergei Kislyak (FC Rubin Kazan), Sergei Krivets (KKS Lech Poznań), Stanislav Dragun (FC Dinamo Minsk), Aleksandr Bychenok (FC Dinamo Minsk), Filipp Rudik (FC BATE Borisov), Pavel Nekhaychik (FC Dinamo Moskva).

Forwards: Andrei Voronkov (FC Karpaty Lviv), Sergei Kornilenko (PFC Krylya Sovetov Samara).

Albania (8 pts)
Coach Josip Kuže has drafted in four potential debutants as Agonit Sallaj, Arsen Sykaj, Odhise Roshi and Sabien Lilaj –  all capped at Under-21 level – take their place in a 24-man squad. Ansi Agolli is out for both matches and Erjon Bogdani misses the trip to Paris after the pair were sent off during the defeat in Luxembourg last time out. Kuže said: "I have brought in some new names and hopefully I will be able to try some of them in the last two games." Andi Lila returns from suspension as Albania look to end their campaign on a high.

Goalkeepers: Orges Shehi (KS Skënderbeu), Saimir Ujkani (Novara Calcio), Isli Hidi (AEL Limassol FC).

Defenders: Kristi Vangjeli (FC Chornomorets Odesa), Admir Teli (Qarabağ FK), Lorik Cana (S.S. Lazio), Franc Veliu (KS Flamurtari), Armend Dallku (FC Vorskla Poltava), Andi Lila (PAS Giannina FC), Arsen Sykaj (KF Vllaznia), Agonit Sallaj (FC Biel-Bienne).

Midfielders: Ervin Bulku (Olimpik-Şüvälan PFK), Altin Lala (Hannover 96), Klodian Duro (KF Tirana), Gilman Lika (KF Tirana), Gjergj Muzaka (KS Skënderbeu), Sabien Lilaj (NK Lokomotiva Zagreb), Elis Bakaj (FC Dinamo Bucureşti).

Forwards: Erjon Bogdani (AC Cesena), Hamdi Salihi (SK Rapid Wien), Edmond Kapllani (FC Augsburg), Ahmet Jonuzi (FC Vorskla Poltava), Odhise Roshi (1. FC Köln).

Luxembourg (4 pts)
Captain René Peters and Eric Hoffman are missing through injury while 17-year-old Nenad Dragović has been handed his fist call-up for the final qualifying match against Bosnia and Herzegovina. "There were two factors in the decision not to select Hoffmann," explained coach Luc Holtz. "For one, there are his injuries which have been hampering him for several weeks and, I am also of the opinion that he does not have the right attitude at the moment to play for the national team."

Goalkeepers: Jonathan Joubert (F91 Dudelange), Marc Oberweis (AS Jeunesse Esch).

Defenders: Ante Bukvić (FC Differdange 03), Mathias Jänisch (FC Differdange 03), Kim Kintziger (FC Differdange 03), Tom Siebenaler (FC Differdange 03), Guy Blaise (R. Excelsior Virton), Clayton de Sousa (AS Jeunesse Esch), Tom Schnell (CS Fola Esch), Tom Laterza (CS Sedan-Ardennes).

Midfielders: Ben Payal (F91 Dudelange), Gilles Bettmer (FC Differdange 03), Lars Gerson (Kongsvinger IL), Mario Mutsch (FC Sion), Laurent Jans (CS Fola Esch), Charles Lewek (FC Etzella Ettelbruck), Nenad Dragović (Racing FC Union Lëtzebuerg).

Forwards: Daniel Da Mota (F91 Dudelange), Stefano Bensi (F91 Dudelange), Aurélien Joachim (F91 Dudelange).

Last updated: 04/10/11 17.20CET

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