State of the Eight Surviving Nations at Euro 2000 Ahead of Weekend Quarterfinals

Published June 23rd, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

PORTUGAL 

Only Carlos Secretario is ruled out of the match with Turkey. Abel Xavier, who plays his club football for English Premiership outfit Everton, will fill the right-back berth. 

Coach Humberto Coelho is toying with the idea of fielding Luis Figo, Manuel Rui Costa and Sergio Conceicao against Turkey but if he decides he can not afford the luxury of playing all three Conceicao is likely to be the unlucky man despite his hattrick against Germany. 

Paulo Sousa, meanwhile, revealed he was reduced to convulsions of laughter by England's defending in the opening Group A match, won 3-2 by Portugal. It is probably a good job, then, that Sousa was sitting on the bench rather than on the pitch. 

 

TURKEY 

Umit Davala and Muzzy Izzet are still carrying injuries while Tugay Kerimoglu is unavailable for selection after being thrown out of the team for a petulant reaction when he was substituted against Belgium. 

But the biggest concern for coach Mustafa Denizli is the injury to Hakan Sukur, whose two goals against Belgium ensured Turkey progressed at the expense of the co-hosts. 

Sukur, dubbed "the Bull of the Bosphorus", has one of the best strike rates in international football with 28 goals in 55 matches. 

 

ITALY 

Dino Zoff was due to decide his team on Friday, although he will keep it close to his chest ahead of the quarterfinal with Romania. 

Rumors persist that Alessandro Del Piero may come into the starting line-up, although dropping Francesco Totti would seem harsh in the extreme. Filippo Inzaghi would be a more likely casualty. 

Luigi Di Biagio and Antonio Conte are disputing a midfield berth. 

 

ROMANIA 

Gheorghe Hagi's return after missing the 3-2 defeat of England through suspension is the only good news for coach Emerich Jenei. 

Sweeper Gheorghe Popescu will miss the match with Italy after tearing a muscle in the England game. 

Cosmin Contra, Dan Petrescu and Adrian Ilie are all ruled out through suspension. Adrian Mutu will play up front alongside Viorel Moldovan. 

 

HOLLAND 

Midfielder Ronald De Boer remains the biggest doubt for the match with Yugoslavia. 

With Giovanni van Bronckorst having purged a suspension he will return at left-back with Boudewijn Zenden, having an outstanding tournament, to move back into midfield alongside Edgar Davids, Phillip Cocu and either Marc Overmars or Paul Bosvelt. 

That means Clarence Seedorf, dropped after a poor display against the Czech Republic, still can not get a look in. 

 

YUGOSLAVIA 

Yugoslavia are likely to be hit with a fine Friday following the misbehavior of their fans in the 4-3 defeat by Spain. 

Referee Gilles Veissiere, hit by a coin, was targeted in four separate incidents. 

Yugoslavia's players are counting the cost of an equally robust approach on the field. Slavisa Jokanovic and Mateja Kezman are both ruled out through suspension. 

 

SPAIN 

Real Madrid defender Fernando Hierro is a doubt for Spain's Euro 2000 quarterfinal match with world champions France. 

"It is a bit too early to say of he can play or not in this match," said team doctor Genaro Borras. "He is still feeling inflammation in the adductor muscles in his right knee which is why he is a doubt." 

Hierro missed a training session on Thursday evening. Full back Michel Salgado is also carrying a knock but will be available for selection against France. 

 

FRANCE 

Coach Roger Lemerre admits he is toying with the idea of picking Robert Pires against Spain if midfielder Emmanuel Petit fails to recover from injury. 

Lemerre, who otherwise has a full panel of players to pick from, compared Pires to Real Madrid and England player Steve McManaman.  

"With his creativity, his talent, his technique he can best express himself. If we could just add power then he would be the dream player" - (AFP) 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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