Germany defender Christoph Metzelder will miss his country’s forthcoming EURO 2004 qualifier because of a hamstring injury, and coach Rudi Voller also has doubts over Michael Ballack who is suffering from flu and Dietmar Hamann who picked up an ankle injury. Both are expected to miss the friendly with Bosnia-Herzegovina but expect to be fit for Wendesday’s qualifier against the Faroes.

France coach Jacques Santini has lost Auxerre forward OlivierKapo but that loss was offset by the news that by captain Marcel Desailly will be fit for Saturday’s home match against Slovenia. Desailly had been a doubt with a calf problem but completed the full 90 minutes against Liverpool yesterday, to confirm his fitness. Kapo suffered a similar injury last week but has failed to recover in time for Saturday’s match.

Kapo’s place would have been by David Trezeguet who was not named in the original squad because of his own injury problems but was drafted in as a replacement for Kapo, before subsequenly withdrawing with a swollenn knee. In comes Lens striker Daniel Moreira as replacement.

For an Italy squad already missing Christian Vieri through injury, the news that Francesco Totti has withdrawn after aggravating his knee injury and Filippo Inzaghi isdoubftul with a foot problem, represents something of a setback as they prepare to face Wales in Cardiff.

Meannwhile, Chievo defender Salvatore Lanna has been given his first call-up to the Italy squad after Francesco Coco was forced to pull out with a thigh strain. Furtherr bad news for Giovanni Trapattoni came with the withdrawal from the match against Yugoslavia of Luigi Di Biagio, although the Inter midfiielder is hopeful of being fit to face Wales next Wednesday.

Striker Raul Tamudo has pulled out of Spain’s squad to face Northern Ireland, after getting injured in Espanyol’s 2-0 defeat by Mallorca yesterday. Although new Spanish coach Inaki Saez is also with out Fernando Morientes, there are no plans to bring in reinforcements.

Spain have called up Real Betis defender Juanito for the after Valencia Carlos Marchena was ruled out because of gastroenteritis. Meanwhile, Diego Tristan and Garc¡a Calvo missed training yesterday with abductor problems. Good news for Saez is that Raul is expecte dto have recovered from a groin strain to face Northern Ireland.

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson suffered a double blow with the withdrawals of Rio Ferdinand and Trevor Sinclair from his squad to face Slovakia and Macedonia. Ferdinand is to undergo an exploratory operation on his knee while Sinclair brusied a toe inWest Ham’s defeat to Birmingham on Saturday. Eriksson has drafted Middlesbrough’s Ugo Ehiogu and Blackburn’s David Thompson into his squad. Thompson earns his first call-up after impressing with someeye-catching performances this season.

Sol Campbell has also pulled out after falling ill with a stomach bug. Manchester Unitedcolleagues Paul Scholes and David Beckham have suffered minor knocks to ankle and calf respectively but both will travel to Slovakia and should start. Beckham and Arsenal’s Ashey Cole resumed training on Thursday and both should be fit to face Slovenia.

Poland‘s preparations for their tie with Latvia, have been hit by the withdrawal of Lens defender Jacek Bak through ironically, a back injury. Coach Zbigniew Boniek has called up Austria Wien defender Krzysztof Ratajczyk as a replacement.

Further bad news for Boniek comes with the withdrawal of striker Emmanuel Olisadebe with flu. Boniek has called up Legia Warszawa’s Lukasz Surma and Krzysztof Ratajczyk of FK Austria Wien.

Denmark suffered a signnifican t blow when first choice keeper Thomas Sorensen dislocatted his elbow during his team’s 3-1 defeat to Arsenal. The injury will keep Sorensen out of action until the new year. Aalborg goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen has been called into the squad as cover. FC Midtjylland keeper Peter Skov-Jensen will start the Group 2 match against Luxembourg. The news came after Milan’s experienced defender Thomas Helveg pulled out with a shoulder injury.

Norway duo Ronny Johnsen and Oyvind Leonhardsen, recent Aston Villa signings, are rated doubtful for the qualifiers against Romania and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Johnsen has a thigh injury while Leonhardsen has achilles an problem.

For Romania, Christian Chivu is rated doubtful for Saturday’s match against Norway, after the Ajax defender pulled out of training on Tuesday, complaining of a swollen knee.

Sergei Barbarez misses out for Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Scotland’sDomenic Matteo has undergone a knee operation, forcing him to miss Scotland’s clash with Iceland. Doubts for Scotland include Barry Ferguson, who has a hip injury and Neil McCann who is struggling with a hamstring problem. Scotland have also lost right-back Robbie Stockdale with an inflamed foot.

Russia, who face Albania and Georgia, have called up CSKA Moscow defender Denis Evsikov to replace injured team-mate Alexei Berezutsky.

Northern Ireland haveÿbrought Grant McCann of West Ham United in to replace injured defender Mark Williams.

Switzerland’s Stephane Henchoz has been ruled out with a calf injury and has been replaced by Massimo Lombardo. Henchoz is expected to be out for up to five weeks.

Belgium coach Aime Anthuenis will be without Mbo Mpenza and Gaetan Englebert, after the pair were sent back to their clubs today.

Lithuania are without striker Edgaras Jankauskas and defender Deividas Semberas for their Group 5 matches against the Faroe Islands and Iceland with groin and foot injuries respectively. Coach Benjaminas Zelkevicius has called up FK Suduva players, Tomas Radzinevicius and Giedrius Slavickas.

Meanwhile, Russia coach Valeri Gazzaev has called up Zenit St.Petersburg’s Andrei Arshavin, CSKA Moskva’s Denis Evsikov and Dmitri Sennikov ofLokomotiv Moskva to replace the injured trio of Andrei Kariaka, Vasili Berezoutski and Vyacheslav Daev.

Valerenga Fotball’s Pa-Modouh Kah has replaced Roar Strand in Norway’s squad to face Romania and Bosnia-Herecegovina.

Slovenia defender Spasoje Bulajic is out of the match against France because of a knee injury.

Greece will be without right-back Christos Patsatzoglou failing for Saturday’s match against Ukraine

Meanwhile, Bulgaria skipper Krassimir Balakov is doubtful for their qualifier with Croatia after injuring his stomach muscles at the weekend.

The Republic of Ireland have been hit by two late withdrawals when Jeff Kenna and Liam O’Brien pulled out of their match with Switzerland with knee and hamstring problems respectively.

Sweden’s Freddie Ljungberg returned to training after suffering from amigraine. The Arsenal midfielder complained of fatigue and dizziness but is set to start against Hungary.