STOKE CITY trio Jonathan Walters, Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson have all been pencilled in to start for the Republic of Ireland this evening . . . in their crucial World Cup Qualifier against Austria.
Walters and Wilson both starred for the Emerald Island in their creditable goalless draw in Sweden on Friday night, however, Whelan was forced to sit out the game as he nursed a minor ankle injury that he sustained during the Potters’ goalless draw with West Brom.
The midfielder has deemed himself fit enough to feature against Austria though, and boss Giovanni Trapattoni has confirmed that he will thrust the 29-year-old straight back into his side for tonight’s vital clash.
Victory for Ireland would catapult them above both Austria and Sweden, into second place in Group C behind leaders Germany.
Meanwhile, the United States go into their hotly anticipated World Cup Qualifier against rivals Mexico tonight on the back of three vital points against Costa Rica.
Geoff Cameron and co fought out a 1-0 win over Costa Rica in Denver, Colorado, but had to battle against a severe downpour of snow to get the game to go ahead.
Clint Dempsey's 16th minute strike proved to be enough for the States to record the much-needed victory, although the visitors are demanding the match is replayed due to the treacherous conditions in which the
game was played out.
Cameron played the full 90 minutes for his country, whilst Maurice Edu appeared for the final eight minutes. Brek Shea meanwhile, remained an unused substitute.
Back in Europe, Charlie Adam and his Scotland colleagues have it all to do in Serbia as they attempt to reignite their qualification campaign, having slipped to a 2-1 home defeat to Wales in their latest encounter.
The Stoke midfielder appeared from the bench in the 64th minute for the Tartan Army, but was unable to influence the hosts, as a quick-fire double from Chris Coleman’s side secured them all three points.
The result leaves them bottom of Group A, with just two points from the opening five matches.
Asmir Begovic and his Bosnian compatriots took another giant step towards a spot in Brazil next summer, as they recorded a huge 3-1 victory against their biggest qualification rivals Greece in Zenica.
A brace from Edin Dzeko sandwiched a Vedad Ibisevic strike, before Begovic's former Portsmouth team-mate Theofanis Gekas stole a late consolation for the visitors.
The Bosnians top Group G with 13 points from five games and have a three-point lead over the Greeks.
Meanwhile, In Central America, Kenwyne Jones played for over an hour as Trinidad & Tobago fought out a goalless draw in Belize. They now move on to Peru for their second friendly match on foreign soil.
At Under 21 level, Jack Butland kept goal and a clean sheet in England's 3-0 victory over Romania at Wycombe Wanderers.
He was replaced by Middlesbrough's Jason Steele with three minutes to go but is expected to return to the side when the Three Lions take on Austria in Brighton tonight.