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FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

Millennium Stadium (ATT 32,000) 6th September 2008 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: A Stavrev

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By Elliot Ball.   Last Updated: 05/09/08 12:44pm

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Koumas: Fitness boost

Koumas: Fitness boost

Jason Koumas and Rob Earnshaw have both been passed fit for Wales' opening World Cup qualifier at home to Azerbaijan on Saturday.

Key midfielder Koumas and striker Earnshaw took part in full training on Thursday and have handed boss John Toshack a timely boost for the match at the Millennium Stadium.

Wigan Athletic playmaker Koumas has recovered from an ankle injury and the creative 28-year old will be vital to Toshack who is without a number of key players including Danny Gabbidon, Freddy Eastwood, James Collins and captain Craig Bellamy.

Influential Koumas, who has scored nine goals in his last 12 internationals, may have to play through the pain barrier as he bids to help Wales get their campaign for the 2010 World Cup off to a flyer.

Strikers

Earnshaw, a late call-up, was doubtful with a hamstring problem but the 27-year-old offers another attacking option for Toshack who is unable to field his first-choice strike-force.

Bellamy, who publicly explained his absence, underwent medical tests with Wales and Toshack agreed with West Ham that their star striker was not fit.

Eastwood withdrew from international duty after suffering a groin strain in Coventry City's defeat to Doncaster last Saturday.

Wolves striker Sam Vokes has shrugged off a groin strain and is expected to partner fellow teenage forward Ched Evans up-front although Paul Parry and the now-fit Earnshaw are also in contention.

Youth

The double fitness boost of Earnshaw and Koumas means Toshack can add some much needed experience to what will be one of the youngest Wales sides for a generation.

There is a plethora of young Premier League talent vying for a place in the Wales starting XI including Arsenal new-boy Aaron Ramsey and Spurs duo Gareth Bale and Chris Gunter.

Wales have beaten Azerbaijan on three previous occasions including a 2-0 victory in Cardiff courtesy of a Ryan Giggs brace in their last Qorld Cup qualifying campaign in 2005 and have never lost to the Group 4 minnows.

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Matches

  • FIFA World Cup European Qualifying

    Sat 6th Sep - Group I
    Sat 6th Sep - Group D
    • Wales
      1 - 0
      Azerbaijan
      bet
      TV
    • Liechtenstein
      0 - 6
      Germany
      bet
      TV
    Sat 6th Sep - Group C
    Sat 6th Sep - Group H
    Sat 6th Sep - Group E
    Sat 6th Sep - Group B
    Sat 6th Sep - Group A
    Sat 6th Sep - Group F
    Sat 6th Sep - Group G

Tables

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Belgium 10 26
2 Croatia 10 17
3 Serbia 10 14
4 Scotland 10 11
5 Wales 10 10
6 Macedonia 10 7

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Italy 10 22
2 Denmark 10 16
3 Czech Republic 10 15
4 Bulgaria 10 13
5 Armenia 10 13
6 Malta 10 3

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Germany 10 28
2 Sweden 10 20
3 Austria 10 17
4 Republic of Ireland 10 14
5 Kazakhstan 10 5
6 Faroe Islands 10 1

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Netherlands 10 28
2 Romania 10 19
3 Hungary 10 17
4 Turkey 10 16
5 Estonia 10 7
6 Andorra 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Switzerland 10 24
2 Iceland 10 17
3 Slovenia 10 15
4 Norway 10 12
5 Albania 10 11
6 Cyprus 10 5

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Russia 10 22
2 Portugal 10 21
3 Israel 10 14
4 Azerbaijan 10 9
5 Northern Ireland 10 7
6 Luxembourg 10 6

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina 10 25
2 Greece 10 25
3 Slovakia 10 13
4 Lithuania 10 11
5 Latvia 10 8
6 Liechtenstein 10 2

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 England 10 22
2 Ukraine 10 21
3 Montenegro 10 15
4 Poland 10 13
5 Moldova 10 11
6 San Marino 10 0

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Spain 8 20
2 France 8 17
3 Finland 8 9
4 Georgia 8 5
5 Belarus 8 4

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