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Litmanen to Sofia for Wednesday's friendly against Bulgaria
Jari Litmanen was added to the Finnish national squad to travel to Sofia at the weekend for Wednesday’s friendly international against Bulgaria.
The Finnish FA announced that the veteran midfielder would be joining the squad on Saturday.
Apparently Litmanen, 37, has recovered fully from his recent leg and heart problems and is fit to play.
The Finnish head coach Stuart Baxter, who had earlier thought Litmanen would not be included in the side, reported that he had been in touch with Litmanen and with Fulham FC, and that he had been given the impression Litmanen was fit to play.
The captain's last match of any description was a friendly international against Greece in early February, where he scored Finland’s only goal in a 2-1 defeat.
Litmanen has not managed to play a single minute for Fulham since he joined the relegation-threatened club at the end of January, and he was not in the squad picked to travel to Newcastle for a Premiership fixture on Saturday.
The national team had one setback prior to the Bulgaria match, when Alexei Eremenko Jr. was ruled out.
Eremenko picked up a hamstring problem in a Russian league match over Easter, and it is not thought wise to risk making the injury any worse.
Finland will also be without the central defence pairing of Hannu Tihinen and Sami Hyypiä, and first-string goalkeeper Jussi Jääskeläinen is also out of action. Jääskeläinen had already announced he would be taking a spring break from international duties, but earlier this month his entire season with struggling Bolton Wanderers was brought to a halt through a back injury.
Since Jääskeläinen will be out of contract from the end of this season, it could be he has played his last game for Bolton, a club he has served since 1997.
Bulgaria finished third behind Romania and The Netherlands in their Euro 2008 qualifying group, and so will find themselves - like Finland - as spectators for the finals in Austria and Switzerland.
This match on Wednesday will be part of both teams’ preparations for the autumn's World Cup 2010 qualifying campaign.
Bulgaria have to face Italy, Ireland, Cyprus, Georgia, and Montenegro in their group, while the Finns have a tough assignment with both Germany and Russia in the qualifying group, alongside Wales, Azerbaijan, and Liechtenstein.