England went into their World Cup qualifier against Moldova tonight with the third best passing record in the Uefa part of qualifying, behind only Germany and Spain.
As of tonight, England have completed 3,934 passes with an 88.1% success rate in their six games so far. Only Germany, leading with 4,610 (90.3% accuracy) and then Spain in second, 4,287 (90%), have performed better. Those statistics put England ahead of the likes of the Netherlands, France, Italy, Belgium and Poland who occupied the following five places in that order. Scotland were placed 36 out of 53 nations.
On the flipside, England did not have a single player in the top 20 of players for ‘assists and chances created’. Joao Moutinho, Mesut Ozil, Bebras Natcho and Andrea Pirlo were the leading four in that category.
In his programme notes, Roy Hodgson said that England would have to be at their “best” tonight.
He wrote: “All the work since we returned from Poland and Ukraine has been building to this moment, and I have confidence in my players that we will actually qualify for next summer. The taste of Rio de Janeiro that the players had in June will only have whetted their appetites for the real thing in 2014.”
The England team was announced by Hodgson yesterday; It is: Joe Hart, Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Rickie Lambert.