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Monday, October 8, 2007
New Zealand captain to miss World Cup qualifiers

BRISBANE, Australia, Oct 8 (Reuters) - New Zealand captain Ryan Nelsen has been ruled out of his country's two World Cup qualifying matches against Fiji later this month.

Nelson, who plays for English Premier League club Blackburn's Rovers, missed Sunday's 2-1 win against Birmingham with a hamstring injury.

Subsequent scans have ruled him out of Saturday's World Cup qualifier in Auckland and the return leg in Lautoka, Fiji on Wednesday.

There was better news for New Zealand with Celtic striker Chris Killen cleared to play.

Killen scored Celtic's first goal in their 2-1 Scottish Premier League win at Gretna on Sunday.

With Australia's Socceroos switching to Asia for their World Cup qualifying campaign, New Zealand are favourites to finish top in the Oceania standings.

The top team from the region must contest a playoff with the fifth-placed Asian country for a place in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

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