What to look out for in Saturday's European Qualifiers

What is there to look forward to on Saturday? The small matter of top-of-the-table Spain v Italy, for a start, not to mention Mircea Lucescu's return to Ukraine with Turkey.

Italy and Spain drew 1-1 when they met in Turin last October
Italy and Spain drew 1-1 when they met in Turin last October ©Getty Images

Spotlight on Asensio
Game of the weekend? Considering the profile of the teams involved and the situation in Group G – Spain and Italy are tied on 16 points at the summit – it would be hard to argue. Enter, Marco Asensio, the Real Madrid sensation who is being tipped to make his first competitive start. "We're going to enjoy him for many years but he easily deserves to be a starter now," said David Villa, himself back in the Spain squad for the first time in three years.

Watch highlights of the teams' October meeting
Watch highlights of the teams' October meeting

The excitement around Asensio is only natural given his explosive start to the season, in which he has scored four outrageously brilliant goals. The 21-year-old has a reputation for dramatic entrances after scoring in every competition debut for Madrid, and who would bet against him repeating the feat for his country? Giorgio Chiellini is has been ruled out for Italy after an injury in training.
Spain v Italy

Other games in Group G
Israel v FYR Macedonia
Albania v Liechtenstein (18:00CET)

Watch highlights: Moldova 0-3 Serbia
Watch highlights: Moldova 0-3 Serbia

Serbia focused on Moldova
Top meets bottom in Belgrade, with the hosts overwhelming favourites to cement their position at the summit. Serbia are unbeaten at home in qualifying – picking up five points from a possible nine – and were 3-0 winners when these teams met in Chisinau last October. Tuesday's trip to the Republic of Ireland – who are level with Serbia on 12 points – looms large, but Serbia coach Slavoljub Muslin refuses to look too far ahead. "For us, the most important thing is to get three points out of this match," he said. "Nothing else is important at the moment."
Serbia v Moldova (18:00)

Other games in Group D
Georgia v Republic of Ireland (18:00)
Wales v Austria

Highlights: Turkey come back to draw 2-2
Highlights: Turkey come back to draw 2-2

Return to Ukraine for Lucescu
Turkey and Ukraine, third and fourth respectively in Group I, are tied on 11 points ahead of their meeting in Kharkiv. The game carries even more intrigue than that, though, with Mirceau Lucescu set for his first game at the Turkey helm back in the country where he spent 12 years with Shakhtar Donetsk.

"I understand Ukraine will do their best to get three points at home, but they do not know us while we know them very well," said the 72-year-old. "And we have the answers for every trump card in their pack. We will cut down the spaces and it will be difficult for them to play their usual game."
Ukraine v Turkey

Other games in Group I
Croatia v Kosovo
Finland v Iceland (18:00)

Games kick off at 20:45CET unless otherwise stated

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