World Cup qualifiers: Montenegro v England match preview
A look ahead to this evening’s crucial tie in Podgorica
Tuesday 26 March 2013
England go into this fixture full of confidence after the 8-0 thrashing of San Marino last Friday. Tonight’s hosts, though, will be a completely different proposition, and the result tonight may have a significant impact on Roy Hodgson’s hopes of leading his side to Brazil next summer.
Montenegro, like England, also scored a good away result, in the form of a 1-0 victory over second bottom Moldova. Branko Brnovic’s charges have enjoyed a fruitful campaign thus far, and lead their opponents by two points going into the game tonight.
A truly international-class Montenegrin frontline will test the Three Lions’ World Cup credentials, even more so as the visitors travelled to the eastern European nation with a depleted defence. Juventus forward Mirko Vucinic and the much-coveted Stevan Jovetic are forwards capable of causing an inexperienced backline problems, while the home side can also boast a mean defence – with only two goals scored against them in qualifying so far.
England, however, can take comfort from the fact that both those goals were conceded at home, and with the best highest number of goals scored in the group, Hodgson will be hopeful his charges will create the chances to supplement success.
Wayne Rooney seems to be in line for a start at the ground where his Euro 2012 was jeopardised last October, after earning a red card for violent conduct.
KICK-OFF: Tonight, 8pm
England 0 Montenegro 0, Euro 2012 Qualifying, October 2010
Montenegro 2 (Zverotic, Delibasic) England (Young, Bent) 2, Euro 2012 Qualifying, October 2011
England have the best goal difference in all of the World Cup qualifying groups (+18), but have played San Marino twice.
Only twice have Montenegro failed to score on their home ground in their last 17 games, an ominous omen for Hodgson.
However, England have scored 29 away goals in their last ten games – 11 more than their last 10 matches at Wembley.
This will only be the third game between the two nations, and with classic moments few and far between, Rooney lashing out last autumn was the most significant action these sides could muster.
Montenegro to win 7/2
England to win 19/20
TV: Live on ITV1, 8pm. You can also follow all the action on The Independent with our live blog by clicking here.
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