Goal, UK
Soccer Age, Italy
June 4 2005

World Cup Group One Preview

6/4/2005 4:34:00 AM

The Netherlands and the Czech Republic have the chance to pull clear
of the rest of Group One on Saturday as Marco van Basten's side host
third placed Romania and the Czech's entertain group minnows Andorra.

Netherlands currently sit one point ahead of the Czechs, while Romania
are a further two points adrift and so really can't afford to lose
to the group leaders when they meet in Amsterdam.

Two months ago Romania were shocked by a 2-0 home defeat to van
Basten's troops, but will be encouraged by a string of absentees
from the home side. Experienced midfielder Phillip Cocu suffered an
injury in PSV's Cup final win and was forced to withdraw from the
squad, while team-mates Wilfred Bouma and Ooijer will also miss out.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst was another absentee, while Mark van Bommel
and Rafael van der Vaart are doubtful.

Romania included Juventus striker Adrian Mutu in their squad, but
he may not start due to being far from match fit having only just
completed his eight month ban for taking cocaine.

The three points should be a mere formality for the Czech Republic
when they host Andorra, who are bottom of the table with four points
to their name. The home team, who won 4-0 away to Andorra earlier
in the campaign, are almost at full strength, although Jiri Jarosik
misses out.

The two teams above them, Armenia and Macedonia, meet in the final
game on Saturday.

On Wednesday the Czech Republic have another home tie, against
Macedonia, while Netherlands must travel to fourth place Finland.
Romania will be expecting victory when they entertain Armenia.