Injuries hit national squads ahead of crucial Euro 2016 qualifiers
A host of European national squads have been rocked by injuries to key members of their squads, including Roy Hodgson’s England side, who are set to have several absentees through troublesome knocks.
Adam Lallana is the latest high-profile Premier League casualty to miss out on England’s crucial Euro 2016 encounter with Lithuania, after the Liverpool attacker limped off in his side’s recent 2-1 home defeat to Manchester United.
The former Southampton star was substituted at half-time at Anfield, meaning he will miss the Lithuania clash, along with the following international friendly against 2006 world champions Italy. England are available at 14/5 to win and both teams to score in their latest qualifying outing at Wembley.
As well as the Saints forward, Hodgson had to name replacements for goalkeeper Fraser Forster and Red Devils full back Luke Shaw, with Robert Green, Jack Butland and Danny Rose all coming in to fill the void.
Meanwhile, Martin O’Neill will have to rethink his Republic of Ireland squad’s approach to their vital qualifying clash against Poland, with Jeff Hendrick, Anthony Pilkington and David McGoldrick all being ruled out through injury.
Derby County midfielder Hendrick started in Ireland’s disappointing qualifier defeat at the hands of Scotland last November, but has recently picked up a knock to his hip, with O’Neill’s men now an 11/8 chance to secure qualification.
Cardiff City winger Pilkington has suffered a hamstring injury, while Ipswich Town striker McGoldrick will miss out because of a thigh injury. O’Neill has several other injury woes within his current set-up, with Jonathan Walters, Aiden McGeady, Robbie Brady and Glenn Whelan all nursing knocks.
Belgium will have to contest Cyprus and Israel in qualifiers without their towering targetman Romelu Lukaku, who has pulled out of his country’s squad after unfortunately picking up an injury in Everton’s win over QPR.
The 21-year-old joins Toffees teammate Kevin Mirallas on the treatment table, with his fellow Goodison Park attacker having missed the last three games with a dead leg.
Elsewhere, 2010 world champions Spain could be without Diego Costa, after the Chelsea striker limped off in Chelsea’s recent 3-2 triumph over Hull City. The Brazilian-born forward has endured a torrid time with injuries, having also missed international fixtures in November against Belarus and Germany.
Vincent del Bosque’s men will hope to banish memories of their woeful World Cup last summer by toppling Ukraine and taking another step towards Euro 2016 qualification. The three-time European champions are 13/5 to win and both teams to score.