After his awful mistake at St Andrew’s at the weekend set Birmingham City on the way to a derby victory, Thomas Sørenson will have the chance to restore some of his confidence as Denmark host Kazakhstan. Martin Laursen, whose Chuckle brother combination with Olof Mellberg set up the second goal, could also start as the Scandinavian side look to move into the top two in Group 2.
Villa’s captain, Mellberg, travels to Bulgaria where his Swedish side will be looking to build upon their Group 8 lead. Meanwhile, Thomas Hitzlsperger could turn out for Germany when they play a friendly against Slovenia in Celje.
In Group 6, Steven Davis faces the short trip up the M6 to Old Trafford where Northern Ireland line up against section leaders England. The side have little chance of qualifying and nor after a tepid start to their own campaign, does the team lying a place beneath them, Wales. If John Toshack’s outfit are to turn their chances around, however, they must defeat Austria in Cardiff on Saturday.
Villa’s South American contingent return to their homelands with only Ulises de la Cruz’s Ecuador currently holding a qualifying berth. The side, who lie third in the CONMABOL standings, host the team lying third, Paraguay, on Saturday. Victory would also be a lift for Nolberto Solano’s Peru and Juan Pablo Angel’s Colombia who currently lie just three points behind an automatic qualifying spot. Peru have a difficult trip to Brazil, however, while Colombia face the side currently lying at the foot of the table, Venezuela.