Spain play Serbia & Montenegro in a Group 7 World Cup qualifier on Wednesday, and Liverpool’s Fernando Morientes is hoping that he can help Spain become the first team to score against them in this World Cup qualifying campaign. Morientes is expected to line up alongside skipper Raul up front and said: "They are very difficult opponents and it is no accident that they haven’t conceded a goal because they are very well organised in defence. But that only gives us even more incentive to see if we can be the first team to break their run. What we want is to score in order to win and not score only to end up drawing the game."
Reds midfielder Xabi Alonso is hopeful that the Spanish fans can emulate the kind of atmosphere he’s grown to enjoy in England. Xabi said: "In England every game the national side plays is a big event and the stadiums are always full there. There they live football in a different way altogether, but the atmosphere at the Calderon will be fantastic and we will have to nothing to envy them this time. If we can win and play well then it will give the national team the sort of boost it needs." Pepe Reina is likely to be back on the bench for the game.
John Arne Riise is hoping for a chance to shine for Norway when they host Scotland tomorrow night in their World Cup clash. Riise has found himself behind Stephen Warnock so far in league games for Liverpool and was suspended for Norway in their last qualifier. If he’s selected then Scotland will be wary of John’s crosses to another John: Gerard Houllier’s latest signing, John Carew. Coach Aage Hareide gave hope to Riise that he’ll be given his chance, saying that he’ll be naming a very different team for this game: "We will change around 50 per cent of our team, although I don’t think Scotland will change that much. I do not want to say what the changes will be at the moment, but we have Jon Arne Riise back after his suspension against Slovenia."
Djibril Cisse is rated doubtful for France’s visit to Ireland tomorrow night. Djibs scored twice for France at the weekend but ended the game with a badly twisted ankle. Remember though that Djibs wasn’t even expected to back from his broken leg until around now, so don’t be surprised if he’s on the Landsdown Road pitch tomorrow night.
England are expected to include Reds midfielder Steven Gerrard and defender Jamie Carragher in their starting line-up, with Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland – currently on loan at West Brom – on the bench. Stephen Warnock wasn’t selected for the team on Saturday but may get a place on the bench on Wednesday.