Serhiy Rebrov, Oleh Luzhny and Hennadiy Zubov have all been ruled out of Ukraine's UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifier against Spain in Kiev on Saturday.
Ukraine must win to take over the leadership of Group 6, but they will be without striker Rebrov, currently on loan at Turkish club Fenerbahçe SK from England's Tottenham Hotspur FC, after he suffered a calf injury in training. Meanwhile, Arsenal FC defender and Ukraine captain Luzhny, has been hit by a recurrence of an old ankle injury. Zubov has a groin injury and has left the squad to go back to his club FC Shakhtar Donetsk for treatment. Coach Leonid Buryak said: "
The loss of those players is very serious for us. Rebrov has been in good form in Turkey ever since moving to Turkey from England. As for Luzhny, he is the captain and the most experienced player we have."
McCartney misses trip
Elsewhere in Group 6, Northern Ireland lost defender George McCartney just hours before they flew to Armenia for their qualifier. Sunderland AFC's McCartney, whose withdrawal was for "personal reasons", joins midfield players Phil Mulryne and Kevin Horlock and fellow defender Peter Kennedy in missing the match. Southampton FC defender Chris Baird and Leyton Orient FC midfield player Ciaran Toner have been called up, but coach Sammy McIlroy admitted: "Losing McCartney is a blow for me - but I have got to accept his reasons and get on with it."
Toldo laid low
Francesco Toldo will miss Italy's Group 9 qualifier against Finland with flu. Coach Giovanni Trapattoni has called up AC Milan's Christian Abbiati to replace the Internazionale FC goalkeeper. The 26-year-old Abbiati, who is second-choice behind Brazilian Dida with the Rossoneri, will act as cover for Italian No1 Gianluigi Buffon.
Russia lose striker
FC Lokomotiv Moskva striker Ruslan Pimenov is out of Russia's Group 10 trip to Albania. Rimenov, who scored last weekend in the Russian champions' defeat by FC Zenit St. Peterburg, sustained an injury in training in Ancona, Italy, where Russia were based before travelling to Albania. Russia have won both their group games so far, and would overtake leaders Switzerland with a draw.
Duo receive Swiss call
Switzerland themselves have called up uncapped Grasshopper-Club midfield player Christoph Spycher for their next qualifier in Georgia on Wednesday. Spycher, who turns 25 on Sunday, was added to coach Jakob Kuhn's initial 17-man squad along with FC Zürich defender Stephan Keller, who has one cap. Kuhn had delayed finalising his squad until after Wednesday night's domestic progamme, in which Grasshoppers won through to the Swiss Cup semi-finals and Zürich were in league action.
Finally, on Friday afternoon FC Bayern München midfield player Owen Hargreaves was ruled out of England's Group 7 game against Liechtenstein with a back problem. The England staff will assess the injury further tomorrow before deciding whether Hargreaves should stay with the party for Wednesday's game against Turkey.
Click here for yesterday's EURO 2004™ injury news
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