Injury keeps Zidane out as France look to qualify first

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The Independent Football

Some of Europe's leading players will miss out on today's European Championship qualifiers.

David Beckham's Real Madrid team-mate, the France playmaker Zinedine Zidane, has a thigh strain and misses the Group One match against Cyprus in Paris. France, the defending champions, could secure the first qualifying place in next year's finals if they beat Cyprus and Slovenia fail to defeat Israel.

Manchester United's Ruud van Nistelrooy is suspended for the Netherlands' home game against Austria, but the good news for the Dutch coach, Dick Advocaat, is that he will be eligible for what is likely to be the Group Three decider against the Czech Republic on Wednesday.

Van Nistelrooy's club team-mate, the Norway striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has recovered from the knee injury that kept him out of United's 1-0 defeat at Southampton last week. He should now be fit to face Bosnia, which will be a confidence boost for his country.

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