UEFA World Cup Qualifiers

Picture: AFP/fifa.com
Pedro scored a hattrick for Spain against Belarus on Friday. Picture: AFP/fifa.com
Spain  will be looking to extend their winning run in World Cup and European Championship qualifiers to 25 matches when they face France  at the Vincente Calderon Stadium in Madrid on Wednesday morning (AEST). After labouring to a 1-0  win away to Georgia last month, the World and European champions returned to their best with an easy 4-0 win over Belarus on Friday, where Barcelona forward Pedro starred with a hat trick. After only coming on as a substitute in Minsk, Andres Iniesta should return to the starting side, while Cesc Fabregas is likely to be retained up front, leaving Fernando Torres and David Villa on the bench.

France will be looking to bounce back from an embarrassing 1-0 home defeat to Japan when they lineup against their neighbours. That result continued a miserable run for Les Bleus’ who have won just two of their past six fixtures. The wins did come in their two World Cup qualifiers however, with a 3-1  win at the Stade de France against Belarus coming after a 1-0  victory away to Finland. Coach Didier Deschamps has several players unavailable through injury going into the match, with Lassana Diarra, Rio Mavuba and Abou Diaby joined by PSG midfielder Clement Chantome on the sidelines.

Spain has won four of the past five matches between the two nations, including a 2-0  quarter final victory at Euro 2012 earlier this year.

Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson are likely to return for England  against Poland  in Warsaw after serving their suspensions, while several other key players are also in line for a recall for the crucial Group H match. Joleon Lescott, James Milner and Jermaine Defoe were rested by coach Roy Hodgson in the side’s 5-0 win over San Marino at the weekend and could start, while Poland will be without captain Jakub Blaszczykowski and first choice goalkeepers Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski who are both injured.

Click here to bet on European World Cup qualifiers