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Football

Latvia name final Euro 2004 squad


LATVIA SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Aleksandrs Kolinko (Rostov), Andrejs Piedels (Skonto FC), Andrejs Pavlovs (Skonto FC)
Defenders: Mihails Zemlinskis (Skonto FC), Igors Stepanovs (Beveren), Olegs Blagonadezdins (Skonto FC), Arturs Zakresevskis (Skonto FC), Aleksandrs Isakovs (Skonto FC), Igors Korablovs (FK Ventspils), Maris Smirnovs (FK Ventspils), Dzintars Zirnis (FHK Liepajas Metalurgs)
Midfielders: Vitalijs Astafjevs (Herold Admira), Imants Bleidelis (Viborg), Andrejs Rubins (Shinnik), Juris Laizans (CSKA Moskva), Valentins Lobanovs (Metalurg Zaporizhya), Jurgis Pucinsks (Luch-Energia), Andrejs Stolcers (Fulham)
Forwards: Marians Pahars (Southampton), Vits Rimkus (FK Ventspils), Maris Verpakovskis (Dynamo Kyiv), Mihails Miholaps (Skonto FC), Andrejs Prohorenkovs (Maccabi Tel-Aviv)

RIGA, Latvia -- Latvian coach Aleksandrs Starkovs has named his 23-man squad for Euro 2004 -- the Baltic nation's first ever major tournament.

Southampton striker Marians Pahars is selected despite suffering a groin injury in Latvia's last warm-up match against Iceland in April.

Defender Olegs Blagonadezdins and midfielder Imants Bleidelis are both battling injuries but are expected to be fit for Latvia's Group D opener against the Czech Republic on June 15.

Among the six players cut from a provisional squad on Saturday, only 23-cap midfielder Vladimirs Kolesnicenko had much international experience.

Forwards Igors Semjonovs, Kristaps Blanks, Gatis Kalnins and Viktors Dobrecovs and goalkeeper Andris Vanins also missed out on places.

Latvia were surprise qualifiers for the finals in Portugal after finishing ahead of Poland in their group and beating World Cup semifinalists Turkey in a playoff.

They also face the Netherlands and Germany in the first round.


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