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Ferdinand out of match against Andorra

September 06, 2008 14:52 IST

Central defender Rio Ferdinand will miss the start of England's World Cup qualifying campaign against Andorra on Saturday, manager Fabio Capello said on Friday.

Capello told a pre-match news conference Ferdinand would definitely miss England's opening Group Six game at Barcelona's Olympic Stadium, explaining: "He is the only one in the squad who is not 100 percent fit.

"But it is not a serious injury and I think he will be fit to face Croatia next week." Ferdinand has been sidelined by a back ailment and has missed training this week.

Joleon Lescott, Wes Brown or Matthew Upson are all in contention to partner skipper John Terry in the heart of England's defence in Ferdinand's absence.

Joe Cole and Frank Lampard have minor knocks but should play while fellow midfielder Jimmy Bullard could make his debut, with Steven Gerrard, Michael Carrick and Owen Hargreaves all missing, although Gareth Barry is likely to start instead.


Capello, in charge of his first competitive match after five friendlies, said Michael Owen was left out of his squad because when the striker played for Newcastle United against Arsenal last week the Italian decided he was not fit enough.

"The door is not closed on him though, he is an important part of the squad and I am sure his goals will be very important to us in the future," said Capello."

He fully expects his side to beat the whipping boys of European soccer but said all that was important to him was getting the campaign off to a winning start.

"The most important thing is to win, to get three points. A good result for me is three points, the score is not as important as the points."

England beat Andorra home and away in the qualifying campaign for the European Championship but played very poorly when they beat Andorra 3-0 in Barcelona 17 months ago.

Capello is convinced his team will play better than that on Saturday, adding: "I'm very pleased with the progress we're making and I'm confident we'll get a good result on Saturday."

(Editing by Ken Ferris)

Mike Collett
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