Breen fit to face Denmark

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The Independent Football

The Coventry defender Gary Breen, who had been struggling with a hamstring injury, has reported fit for duty for the Republic of Ireland's friendly against Denmark tomorrow.

It was feared Breen would become the sixth withdrawal, following Roy Keane, Mark Kennedy, Kevin Kilbane, Lee Carsley and Andy O'Brien.

Less welcome news was that the wives of Mick McCarthy's World Cup squad will have to make their own way to Japan and South Korea, the Football Association of Ireland said yesterday.

The Middlesbrough keeper Mark Crossley and Wolves midfielder Carl Robinson have pulled out of the Wales squad for the friendly with the Czech Republic. Both have knee injuries.

Michael Hughes has answered Sammy McIlroy's emergency call. Hughes is due to join Birmingham from Wimbledon today on loan for the rest of the season with a view to a permanent transfer. But rather than travel to St Andrew's to meet his new team-mates, he has chosen to provide a boost to McIlroy's injury-hit Northern Ireland squad by flying to Liechtenstein for tomorrow's friendly.

McIlroy had already lost five players because of injury and some had been withdrawn by their clubs to protect them for the climax to the season. McIlroy's assistant, Jimmy Harvey, will miss the game because of club commitments with Morecambe. His place will be taken by the Under-21 assistant coach, Alan McDonald.

Edgar Davids, the Juventus midfielder, and Kevin Hofland, the PSV Eindhoven defender, have pulled out of the Netherlands squad for tomorrow's friendly against Spain. Davids has an ankle injury and Hofland has heel trouble. Wilfred Bouma, Paul Bosvelt and Ruud van Nistelrooy have already withdrawn.

* The former France coach Henri Michel has resigned as coach of Tunisia only two days before a friendly against Norway and little over two months before the start of the World Cup.

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