Winter of discontent

Click to follow
NEXT Wednesday's European Championship play-off between Holland and the Republic of Ireland will leave Lazio short-handed for their testing away game at second-placed Parma today.

Following their 1-0 defeat by league leaders Milan last week, when George Weah scored a spectacular last-minute winner, Lazio badly need a good result, but their cause has not been helped by the Dutch FA, who have issued an early call-up for Aron Winter.

The midfielder, who will miss both the Parma game and the Italian Cup quarter-final second leg against Internazionale on Tuesday, said he was disappointed. "I spoke to the Dutch coach [Guus Hiddink] and I asked him if he intended to play me against Ireland," Winter said. "But his answer was vague. He just told me to turn up."

To add to Lazio's troubles, Alen Boksic could also miss out. The Croat striker may start the game on the substitutes' bench but is unlikely to play as he is still recovering from a muscular problem.

There is some good news for Lazio's coach, Bohemian Zdenek Zeman, in that the Argentine Jose Chamot returns from suspension. In Boksic's absence Pierluigi Casiraghi, Giuseppe Signori and Roberto Rambaudi will play in attack, while Dario Marcolin will replace Winter.

Parma, too, look to the Lazio game for a morale booster following draws against Milan, Juventus and Napoli, which have left them in second place, four points behind Milan. They welcome back the Bulgarian, Hristo Stoichkov, from suspension, while Portuguese defender Fernando Couto and the Argentine utility player, Nestor Sensini, should also start. The Colombian striker Faustino Asprilla may start on the bench along with Alessandro Melli.

The Holland-Ireland game has also effected Sampdoria's preparations for their home game against Juventus, with Clarence Seedorf on national service. The midfielder is one of seven first-choice players injured or suspended, along with defenders Moreno Mannini and Marco Franceschetti, midfielder Fausto Salsano and strikers Roberto Mancini, Mauro Bertarelli and Filippo Maniero.

Enrico Chiesa, who scored a hat-trick in the 3-1 away win against Bari last week, will partner 20-year-old Claudio Belluci in attack. Veterans Alberigo Evani and Giovanni Invernizzi return to midfield alongside Frenchman Christian Karembeu, while Riccardo Ferri will be partnered by the Serb, Sinis Mihajlovic, and 19-year-old Emanuele Pesaresi in defence.

Juventus, held to a goalless Champions League draw by Steaua Bucharest in midweek, welcome back five players rested for that game - Gianluca Vialli and Fabrizio Ravanelli, Portuguese midfielder Paulo Sousa, defender Alessio Tacchinardi and goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi.