Scotland look to McFadden and Boyd to provide attacking spark
Monday 06 September 2010
Scotland are expected to recall James McFadden and Kris Boyd as they go in search of goals against Liechtenstein at Hampden Park tomorrow night – goals that eluded them in Friday's draw with Lithuania.
McFadden came on as a second-half substitute for Craig Levein's side during the 0-0 stalemate in Kaunas while Boyd was left on the bench, but both can expect to start as Scotland seek the resounding victory that will get their European Championship qualifying campaign up and running.
Peter Houston, Scotland's assistant manager, hinted at a reshuffle after the gloomy reaction to his side's failure, in a tough group that includes Spain and the Czech Republic, to beat Lithuania. He said: "I think there will be one or two changes from Friday night's team, whether it is one of them or two I don't know, but I would expect at least one.
"What we can't forget is that we built a solid foundation by not losing any goals away from home, I think, for the first time in three years. At the same time you have to be more attack-minded because you need to win the match.
"There is a balance and you have to look at the big picture; who are the best players to score goals but also not concede any and that's the way we have to think."
Striker Kenny Miller also sprang to the defence of Levein, after a number of critics questioned the manager's cautious tactics against Lithuania, particularly his decision to persist with a 4-5-1 formation.
"You would have to ask the manager how we will line up now but I felt we took the game to Lithuania on Friday night," Miller said. "We played with one up front but you saw in the first half how high we pressed the ball and how hard we worked to try to get the ball back as soon as we lost it.
"That's the way you have to play. The energy we've got in the midfield with Fletch [Darren Fletcher] and Broony [Scott Brown] in particular in the middle and wee Naisy [Steven Naismith] out wide, you have got to play like that and I think you will see the same on Tuesday."
Also hoping to win well tomorrow are the Republic of Ireland, who take on Andorra at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin after grinding out a 1-0 victory over Armenia on Friday. However, manager Giovanni Trapattoni has told his players to take nothing for granted. "Sure, we are playing at home and everybody thinks we will win but we have to win; we must win over the 90 minutes against Andorra," he said.
"In the last qualification, Andorra were last in the table, but France lost to Belarus [on Friday] and Italy were 1-0 down to Estonia at half-time. The world of football today is very, very difficult. Obviously, I think we can win, but we must win."
Trapattoni, who recovered from last month's stomach surgery to make the trip to Yerevan, was pleased with his side's performance. "The positives are more than the negatives. For example, the performance of Shay Given, and also Robbie Keane," he said. "Robbie had two very good chances and he hit the post with one of them, and I have seen the television replays and he could also have had a penalty, so we could have won by a bigger score. The performance of our defence, who did not allow Armenia to score a goal, was also positive."
France, who lost 1-0 at home to Belarus on Friday, saw problems deepen at the weekend, with strikers Guillaume Hoarau, Loic Remy and Louis Saha all sidelined by injury for tomorrow's tricky match against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Hoarau (shoulder), Remy (groin) and Saha (calf) all picked up knocks against Belarus, however there was good news for coach Laurent Blanc, with the Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema fit to play against Bosnia-Herzegovina after missing the match in Paris because of an ankle injury. "Karim participated in a full training session this morning and he will be available," Blanc said.
Meanwhile, Algeria coach Rabah Saadane has resigned after his side were held to a 1-1 draw by Tanzania in an African Nations Cup qualifier on Friday. Saadane was in charge when Algeria drew 0-0 with England at the World Cup in June.
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