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AWOL Irish stars to learn fate today

THE players who controversially withdrew from Ireland's end-of-season internationals will today learn if they have been forgiven when Giovanni Trapattoni names his squad for the August 10 friendly clash with Croatia.

A raft of pull-outs for the Carling Nations Cup, the Euro 2012 qualifier with Macedonia and the subsequent friendly with Italy in Belgium annoyed Trapattoni as well as senior figures in the Irish dressing-room.

Celtic striker Anthony Stokes withdrew because he was tired, while the Irish management were sceptical about the absences of James McCarthy, Marc Wilson, Caleb Folan and Darron Gibson.

Wales rock bottom

WALES will be ranked in the bottom tier alongside the likes of Andorra and San Marino, and beneath the Faroe Islands, when FIFA reveal the seeding pools for the World Cup 2014 draw later this month.

Ireland will be included among the third seeds for the draw, which takes place in Brazil on July 30.

Hammer Gudjohnsen

WEST HAM are poised to sign former Chelsea and Barcelona striker Eidur Gudjohnsen.

The 32-year-old Iceland international is due to undergo a medical ahead of a move to Upton Park on a free transfer after he was released by Stoke at the end of last season.

Irish Independent