Moldovans get ready to crumble

It was always going to be hard to make a case for Moldova restricting England to a respectable World Cup scoreline tonight and having spent time with their coach it is impossible.

The impression from Ion Caras, with all that has gone on here over the past 10 days, was that it is almost Moldova's duty to lose heavily at Wembley.

It is not unusual for foreign coaches to improve their own players' morale with a public reminder that England's reputation as one of football's super powers belongs to a bygone age, that the famous old stadium is not the intimidating arena it might once have been.

Caras does not belong to that band. He has an abiding respect for the English game and as far as he is concerned it was a travesty of justice that Italy triumphed at Wembley in February. His view is that Glenn Hoddle has taken England into a new realm and Italy are trailing behind.

There was a tribute from Caras to Diana, Princess of Wales and an explanation, bordering on an apology, that because of Moldova's restricted schedule they may be unable to pay their respects at the shrine that is Kensington Palace.

It is impossible for this not to sound patronising, but it is difficult for a team who have accumulated zero points in the qualifying group, conceded 13 goals and who have only ever beaten the likes of Sudan, Indonesia and Wales, not to regard every game as providing an impossible mountain to climb.

Moldova have improved in the 12 months since the Republican Stadium gave Hoddle a convincing start to his England reign, but the representatives of the former Soviet republic, who only came into being as a football nation six years ago, have made their first visit to London still believing that they cannot put even a small stone in England's qualifying path.

"The result is a foregone conclusion," Caras said. "But even if we were to lose heavily it would be an achievement for us to score a goal. With the exception of David Seaman, who I hope will not threaten our goal, every player is a danger to us. Great teams have struggled at Wembley and it goes without saying that the smaller nations will regard playing there as a big hurdle.

"Even if we lose and lose heavily, it will not be an embarrassment or the end of the world for us. If we play well and get beaten, it will still be a great occasion."

Moldovans do not find much demand for their players abroad. Only one of the starting 11 tonight - the Widzew Lodz midfielder Alexandru Curteanu - earns his living outside his homeland from which tobacco and alcohol are the more profitable exports. The 14-club domestic league suffers through the 4.8 million population's preference for Greco-Roman wrestling, yet the national team do include a pair of strikers who should not be underestimated.

Before the final game of last season in Moldova, Serghei Rogachev had scored 29 goals and Yuri Miterev 25. Miterev added another nine in Zimbru's 15-1 win to stake his claim as leading scorer only to be shaded by Rogachev, who scored every one of Olimpia's goals in a 6-6 draw.

Even so the feeling is that just one shot from the pair past Seaman would provoke national rejoicing in the street of the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, no matter how many end up in the away net.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee