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Stoichkov turns to Levski duo

Published: Tuesday 5 September 2006, 0.02CET
Bulgaria, Portugal and Scotland are just three of the countries forced into squad reshuffles as the week's second instalment of qualifying matches looms.


Published: Tuesday 5 September 2006, 0.02CET

Stoichkov turns to Levski duo

Bulgaria, Portugal and Scotland are just three of the countries forced into squad reshuffles as the week's second instalment of qualifying matches looms.

As the week's second instalment of UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifiers looms on Wednesday, coaches across the continent are forced to reshuffle their squads.

Bulgaria coach Hristo Stoichkov has drafted in the PFC Levski Sofia duo of Hristo Yovov and Dimitar Telkiyski for the Group G home game against Slovenia after losing striker Dimitar Berbatov to a thigh strain. The 28-year-old Yovov, who replaces Berbatov, was last capped in April 2001. Telkiyski, a 29-year-old midfielder, featured against Scotland in May. Stoichkov's casualty list also includes goalkeeper Georgi Petkov (head) and forward Svetoslav Todorov (knee).

Sweden will be without three of their biggest names for the match against Liechtenstein after they left the team’s training camp without permission. After a 11pm team meeting, defender Olof Mellberg, midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson and forward Zlatan Ibrahimović left the Gothenburg hotel and did not return until 1am. Although no alcohol was consumed by the players, coach Lars Lagerbäck said they had broken team rules.

England have been boosted by the return to fitness of defender Rio Ferdinand after a foot injury kept him out of the 5-0 win against Andorra on Saturday. Ferdinand could face Group E rivals F.Y.R. Macedonia in Skopje on Wednesday although two players sidelined with minor knocks are goalkeeper Chris Kirkland and right-back Luke Young.

Portugal look set to begin their Group A campaign in Finland without centre-back Fernando Meira. The 28-year-old from VfB Stuttgart is nursing a calf injury which also kept him out of Friday's 4-2 friendly defeat in Denmark.

Scotland manager Walter Smith has called up 21-year-old Hibernian FC midfielder Scott Brown for the Group B qualifier in Lithuania following the withdrawals of Garry O'Connor and Stephen McManus. Defender McManus has a thigh problem while striker O'Connor is ill. In addition, midfielder Lee McCulloch is rated doubtful due to knee trouble, although Darren Fletcher should play despite a back complaint which forced him off at half-time of Saturday's 6-0 victory against the Faroe Islands.

Brazil-born striker Leandro Gomes has been added to Azerbaijan's squad for the Group A visit of Kazakhstan. The 30-year-old, who has played in Azerbaijan with FK Baku since 2004, is the fifth naturalised foreigner involved alongside Russian Sergei Sokolov, Ukrainians Aleksandr Chertoganov and Yuri Muzika, and his countryman Andre Ladaga.

UEFA EURO™ 2008 co-hosts Austria will be without Roman Wallner and René Aufhauser for their friendly meeting with Venezuela. Wallner has a swollen right knee, with coach Josef Hickersberger deciding against risking the FK Austria Wien forward. Experienced FC Salzburg midfielder Aufhauser has returned home as his wife is due to give birth.

Last updated: 04/09/06 22.10CET

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