Kipiani the optimist

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Georgia arrived in England yesterday intent on inflicting further damage upon Glenn Hoddle's World Cup hopes at Wembley next week.

England, beaten by Italy in their last qualifier, will be firm favourites to overcome the Georgians, but their coach, David Kipiani, refuses to write off his team's chances.

"Football is a game in which every team, no matter how small, has a chance. You can never tell beforehand what might happen," Kipiani said. "We are a small nation but we have some talented young players and we are lifted by the prospect of playing at Wembley, because it is the mother of football. It is every player's dream to play at the stadium."

Kipiani was there to see England's last qualifier and he went away impressed despite the 1-0 loss to Italy. "England were unlucky and created the better chances," he said. "I don't think England have any bad players in their squad. I particularly like Shearer and Le Saux."

Georgi Kinkladze and his Manchester City colleague, Mikhail Kavelashvili, were due to drive to Georgia's base in St Albans after last night's Nationwide League match at Norwich. "They are due here at about midnight, so I shall be waiting up to see that they arrive safely," Kipiani said.

GEORGIA SQUAD (World Cup qualifier v England, Wembley, Wednesday): Goalkeepers: Zoidze (Dynamo Tbilisi), Togonidze (Dynamo Batumi). Defenders: Machavariani (Dynamo Tbilisi), Shekiladze (Dynamo Batumi), Tskhadadze (Alania Vladikavkaz), Shelia (Alania Vladikavkaz), Lobzhanidze (CSKA Moscow), Chikhradze (Shakhtyor Donetsk). Midfielders: Gogichaishvili (Dynamo Tbilisi), Nemsadze (Trabzonspor), Dzhamarauli (Trabzonspor), Gakhokidze (Alania Vladikavkaz), Ketsbaia (AEK Athens), Kinkladze (Manchester City). Forwards: A Arveladze (Trabzonspor), S Arveladze (Trabzonspor), Kavelashvili (Manchester City), Gogrichidze (Zhemchuzhina Sochi).