Hodgson has it all to do against Scolari

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Two former, and possibly future, contenders for the job of England manager go head-to-head in Porto tonight for a place in next summer's Euro 2008 finals. Luiz Felipe Scolari, who was offered, then rejected, the post before Steve McClaren, will book a place in the finals if his Portuguese team avoid defeat against Finland. The Finns are managed by Roy Hodgson, a candidate when Sven Goran Eriksson was appointed. His team need to win and hope Serbia fail to win their last two matches, against Group A winners Poland tonight and Kazakhstan on Saturday.

The Finns are hoping the pressure will tell on their opponents. "It would be a catastrophe if they were to miss the Euro," said Werder Bremen defender Petri Pasanen. "For us though, this is a great opportunity."

Pasanen's club-mate Hugo Almeida, who scored the only goal of Portugal's weekend qualifying victory against Armenia, will be absent with a thigh injury. Nuno Gomes is expected to deputise.

Both national coaches are expected to leave their posts after the campaign with Hodgson a contender to take over the Republic of Ireland and Scolari unlikely to be short of offers.

Turkey will clinch a place alongside Group C winners Greece if they defeat Bosnia-Herzegovina in Istanbul, or Norway fail to win in Malta. Turkish confidence is high following their weekend victory in Oslo which transformed their chances, but their coach, Fatih Terim, insisted there was no complacency. He said: "After the Norway game there were celebrations in the dressing room but I heard people saying, 'Let's save the party until Wednesday'. It is quite something for such young players to act so wisely and show common sense."

Turkey came third in the 2002 World Cup, but failed to reach the finals of either Euro 2004 or the 2006 World Cup.

Comments