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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 October, 2003, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
England ready for action
England's football players training in Istanbul ahead of their Euro 2004 qualifier with Turkey
Turkey v England
Sat 11 Oct, KO 1800 BST
England's players begin the final countdown to their crucial Euro 2004 qualifier in Turkey knowing a positive result will send them to Portugal next summer.

Sven-Goran Eriksson's men meet Turkey in the forbidding atmosphere of Fenerbahce's Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul at 1800 BST.

After a week of scandal that has rocked the game, England captain David Beckham will lead his side out in search of a draw or a win to secure automatic passage to the finals.

England will face a hostile crowd adorned in the red shirts of Turkey after the Football Association urged home fans not to travel for security reasons.

The streets of Istanbul were reportedly quiet on Saturday morning, though 43 England fans trying to gain access to the country were sent home at the airport.

The calm before the storm will give coach Eriksson a last chance to ponder his team selection, which he will not announce until about an hour before kick-off.

The Swede, though, is likely to hand teenage striker Wayne Rooney a starting place alongside Emile Heskey in the absence of the injured Michael Owen.

Beckham insisted that any "crisis" within the England camp was over.

The players are unhappy that defender Rio Ferdinand was excluded from the squad after he failed to attend a routine drugs test.

But Beckham believed that the torrid week would bind his side closer together.

"We have something to prove and we will be playing our hearts out for our country, the fans and for ourselves," he said.

Probable teams:

Turkey Rustu; Fatih Aykel, Alpay, Bulent Korkmaz, Ibrahim; Tugay, Emre Belozoglu, Nihat Kahveci, Tuncay Sanli; Sergen Yalcin, Hakan Sukur.

England James; Ashley Cole, Campbell, Terry, Gary Neville; Gerrard, Butt, Scholes, Beckham; Heskey, Rooney.

England's Sol Campbell
"We know we've got the players and the temperament"

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