Just 180 minutes of football separate England from a place at the Brazil 2014 World Cup but if Roy Hodgson’s side are to stand a chance of qualifying they have to get past Montenegro tonight.
As it stands England are just one point ahead of Ukraine and Montenegro in Group H but will be buoyed by their 4-0 win over Moldova last month, in which Steven Gerrard, Rickie Lambert and Danny Welbeck all made it onto the score sheet. Montenegro drew with Poland 1-1 in early September but if the broadsheets are to be believed, Branko Brnovic’s side are viewing Friday’s game as a potential giant killing.
First time round England could only muster a 1-1 draw with Montenegro away in Podgorica after a late goal from Dejan Damjanovic, and Hodgson is well aware of the dangers posed by the opposition.
“They’re well organised and a tough team to play, they’re dangerous from set-plays and a big and strong team,” he told the FA. “They’re a team that knows how to defend and a team that will ask questions of us too.
“They will expect us to take the game to them and take the initiative and they’ll be trying to use the counter-attacking opportunities. So we can’t throw players forward to try and score goals and leave ourselves exposed. We know the task ahead and we can’t criticise Montenegro for that.”
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