The 13th round of qualifying matches for UEFA Euro 2008 takes place on Saturday with a spate of injuries and suspensions threatening to derail the campaigns of more than a few contenders. One slip-up at this late stage of proceedings could be fatal, which makes the current bout of selection problems all the more untimely for the continent's national coaches.

The man with the biggest headache is Romania boss Victor Piturca, who takes the Group G leaders into a crucial top-of-the-table clash against Netherlands without six first-teamers (Danut Coman, Cosmin Contra, Mirel Radoi, Razvan Cocis, Laurentin Rosu and Ianis Zicu) and with Christian Chivu more than likely to join them on the sidelines.

His opposite number Marco van Basten has problems of his own but with Mario Melchiot, Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder all suspended, the former AC Milan legend can at least call on the services of the returning Hedwiges Maduro, Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Arjen Robben, not to mention the in-form goal machine Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Fresh from a morale-boosting win away to Ukraine, world champions Italy face a seemingly routine task when they entertain Georgia in Group B. All the same, the boys in blue will be hampered by the injury-enforced absences of Gianluca Zambrotta, Simone Perrotta, Vincenzo Iaquinta and Alberto Aquilani, while Fabio Cannavaro is serving a suspension and Alessandro Del Piero and Filippo Inzaghi missed out on selection altogether.


Staying in the same pool, Germany 2006 runners-up France travel to the Faroe Islands for what should be a comfortable mission without the injured Louis Saha or David Trezeguet, who failed to get the nod from Raymond Domenech. Surprise leaders Scotland, meanwhile, have problems of their own with Paul Hartley, Gary Caldwell and Darren Fletcher all ruled out for the visit of Ukraine, who need to win to keep their slim hopes alive.

Group A leaders Poland play host to lowly Kazakhstan, but will no doubt be keeping a close eye on events elsewhere, with the three teams tucked in behind them, Finland, Portugal and Serbia, facing away games in Belgium, Azerbaijan and Armenia respectively. The fourth-placed Serbs will have to make do without Nemanja Vidic and Mladen Krstajic, both out with injuries, and the suspended Ivica Dragutinovic.

England, who can count on the services of a fit-again Michael Owen, should get the three points they need to keep their Group E revival going against Estonia. Heading in the opposite direction are Israel, who have one last chance to get back into the reckoning when they travel to Croatia to take on the leaders.

Finally, Spain will look to preserve their top two status in Group F when they make the trip to Denmark. Although star striker David Villa will not be able to add to his six-goal campaign tally because of injury, the Spanish still have plenty of goalscoring alternatives to call on.


Group A
Armenia vs.Serbia
Poland vs. Kazakhstan
Belgium vs. Finland
Azerbaijan vs. Portugal

Standings
1. Poland, 21 pts
2. Finland, 19
3. Portugal, 17
4. Serbia, 16
5. Belgium, 11
6. Armenia, 8
7. Kazakhstan, 7
8. Azerbaijan, 5

Group B
Scotland vs. Ukraine
Faroe Islands vs. France
Italy vs. Georgia

Standings
1. Scotland, 21 pts
2. Italy, 20
3. France, 19
4. Ukraine, 13
5. Lithuania, 10
6. Georgia, 7
7. Faroe Islands, 0

Group C
Hungary vs. Malta
Moldova vs. Turkey
Greece vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina

Standings
1. Greece, 19 pts
2. Norway, 17
3. Turkey, 17
4. Bosnia-Herzegovina, 13
5. Hungary, 9
6. Malta, 5
7. Moldova, 5

Group D
Slovakia vs. San Marino
Cyprus vs. Wales
Republic of Ireland vs. Germany

Standings
1. Germany, 22 pts
2. Czech Republic, 20
3. Republic of Ireland, 14
4. Slovakia, 10
5. Wales, 10
6. Cyprus, 10
7. San Marino, 0

Group E
England vs. Estonia
Croatia vs. Israel

Standings
1. Croatia, 23 pts
2. England, 20
3. Russia, 18
4. Israel, 17
5. Macedonia, 8
6. Estonia, 4
7. Andorra, 0

Group F
Liechtenstein vs. Sweden
Iceland vs. Latvia
Denmark vs. Spain

Standings
1. Sweden, 19 pts
2. Spain, 19
3. Northern Ireland, 16
4. Denmark, 14
5. Iceland, 8
6. Latvia, 6
7. Liechtenstein, 4

Group G
Slovenia vs. Albania
Belarus vs. Luxembourg
Romania vs. Netherlands

Standings
1. Romania, 20
2. Netherlands, 20
3. Bulgaria, 18
4. Slovenia, 10
5. Albania, 9
6. Belarus, 7
7. Luxembourg, 0