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Page last updated at 06:32 GMT, Friday, 10 October 2008 07:32 UK

Injured Hleb may not face England

World Cup 2010 qualifying Group Six: Belarus v England
Venue: Dinamo Stadium, Minsk Date: Wednesday, 15 October Kick-off: 1930 BST Coverage: BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sport website. Live on Setanta Sports 1

By Andrew McKenzie

Alexander Hleb
Hleb hurt his ankle in September

Belarus coach Bernd Stange plans to make a late decision on key player Alexander Hleb's fitness to face England in their World Cup qualifier.

The Belarus captain and former Arsenal midfielder, 27, who has been nursing an ankle injury, has been sent back to his current club Barcelona for treatment.

"It will be a late decision," Stange told BBC Sport ahead of the qualifier with England on Wednesday 15 October.

"He will join the squad in Stuttgart at the weekend where we will prepare."

While England meet Kazakhstan at Wembley in a Group 6 qualifier on Saturday, Belarus do not have a qualifier and have travelled to Stange's home country of Germany to prepare for their meeting with England in Minsk.

"We do our preparation in Germany," added Stange. "We go abroad to be away from the English people and media in Minsk, so it's quiet and isolated."


Hleb, who Stange believes is one of the "best players in Europe", hurt his ankle playing for Barcelona against Racing Santander in September.

The Belarus midfielder moved to Barcelona from Arsenal in July in a 11.8m move.

Belarus lost their opening 2010 World Cup qualifier 1-0 to Ukraine, when former Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko scored an injury-time penalty, before beating Andorra 3-1 away.

England lead Group Six on goal difference, having scored two more goals than Ukraine.

see also
England's seven-year itch
10 Oct 08 |  Football
Croatia fine not enough - Heskey
09 Oct 08 |  Internationals
England v Kazakhstan
11 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Capello in dark over Kazakhstan
11 Oct 08 |  Internationals
England's problem midfield
09 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Kazakhstan blinded by World Cup fantasy
11 Oct 08 |  Internationals
How to help the England boss
09 Oct 08 |  Internationals

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