Chelsea players Frank Lampard and Ryan Bertrand have been ruled out of the upcoming game between England and Poland, Germany will face Sweden in their next qualifier game after beating Republic of Ireland 6-1 last week while Italy host Denmark at the San Siro on Tuesday. Finally, Gonzalo Higuain will miss the clash against Chile due to a hip injury.
Lampard and Bertrand Ruled Out England’s Clash Against Poland
England were dealt with a quite a blow ahead of their next World Cup qualifying match against Poland when they learned that veteran Frank Lampard and rookie Ryan Bertrand will not recover in time to face the Poles at Warsaw on Tuesday.
England boss Roy Hodgson was hopeful of the duo’s return to the first team after the Three Lions’ thumping of San Marino last week but looks like Lampard’s knee injury and Bertrand’s throat infection will keep them out for a little longer than expected.
“Lampard (calf) and Bertrand (illness) did not take part in England’s 5-0 win over San Marino, and will not be ready for Tuesday’s game. Roy Hodgson and his squad of 23 players travel to Warsaw on Monday morning.” – FA’s statement
On the bright side, captain Steven Gerrard will return to the squad after serving his ban for a red card he picked up against Ukraine in the 1-1 draw last month. He is likely to team up with Manchester United midfielders Tom Cleverely and Michael Carrick.
England will also be without the services of Kyle Walker at right-back and Glen Johnson is most likely to take his place. Hodgson rested several key players for the match against San Marino. The likes of Ashley Cole, James Milner and Joleon Lescott could make a return against Poland on Tuesday.
Germany Line Up Against Sweden
After handing Republic of Ireland their worst ever defeat in a competitive match, Germany are now looking to replicate the same form when they welcome Sweden to Berlin. The Swedes are going to be tough opponents, quite literally, actually. But the style and finesse shown by Germany so far in their qualifying games should makes this an exciting game.
There are quite a few ins and outs of the German camp. Captain Philipp Lahm makes a return after serving suspension while Sami Khedira is likely to sit this match out due to a thigh strain that forced him off the pitch in the Ireland game. Germany is also expecting the returning of the exciting prospect, Mario Gotze. The Borussia Dortmund man was ruled out of the Ireland game due to injury but is expected to be match fit for the game against Sweden.
Sweden came from behind to earn a victory against Faroe Islands last week and once again, it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic who made all the difference. The PSG striker has been in fine form for club and country and is surely the target man for the Swedes as well as the Germans. Stopping Zlatan will be key for Germany while adopting a surprise approach that isn’t as dependent on Zlatan as the Germans would expect, could work in Sweden’s favour.
“He’s a dangerous player, who can decide games on his own and can often find the solution in very difficult situations,” – Germany coach, Joachim Loew
Speaking of strikers, Germany front-man Miroslav Klose is closing in on Gerd Muller’s record of 68 goals for country as he currently stands at 65. He will certainly be looking to get onto that score-sheet on Tuesday.
Denmark looking for first win against Italy
Group B leaders Italy will face bottom-of-the-group Denmark, who have yet to record their first victory in the qualifying rounds. The Danes are surprisingly second from the bottom of the group, with Czech Republic, Armenia and Bulgaria occupying the spots between them and Italy.
The good news for Italy ahead of this fixture is the return of Mario Balotelli. The Manchester City forward has missed international games ever since the Euro 2012 Championship ended earlier this year. An initial laser eye surgery kept him out of the first two qualifying matches against Bulgaria and Malta, after which he missed out on Italy’s win against Armenia last Friday.
But on the other hand, Cesare Prandelli’s will be pacing up and down his office, wondering if Gianluigi Buffon will be ready to face the Danes. The Juventus’ first choice has been nursing a left leg muscle problem and even missed training on Monday. Napoli’s Morgan De Sanctis is expected to take Buffon’s place in case he isn’t match fit.
Giorgio Chiellini, Ignazio Abate and Federico Balzaretti are expected to return to the starting lineup for this encounter.
The two teams have had some really close encounters in the past and Cesare Prandelli doesn’t expect it to be any different this time around, although it is a qualifying game.
“It’s an opponent that has always created problems for us. They’re not out of it yet. This group is very balanced.” – Prandelli
Denmark have shown a strong team spirit and resilience in the recent past. The likes of Simon Kjaer and Daniel Agger are always hard to beat. Also, with Nicklas Bendtner heading the frontline and who has been in really good form since this year’s Euros, Denmark aren’t going to let Italy walk away easily.
Higuain Suffers Hip Injury
Argentina and Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain picked up a hip injury in the nation’s 3-0 win against Uruguay last Friday and will miss the next game against Chile. Higuain is the qualifying competition’s top goal scorer so far but he will have to wait a bit longer before he can build upon his numbers. There is no doubt that his contributions were key in bringing Argentina to the top of the South America qualifying group with 17 points from eight matches.