Tough Test Ahead As England Close On Qualification

By on October 7, 2011

England are just one point away from qualification for the 2012 European Championship in Poland and Ukraine. But that precious point will be tough to obtain against a resilient Montenegro side.

The home leg against Montenegro ended in a disappointing 0-0 draw with the away side nearly taking all three points when Milan Jovanovic hit a superb strike that beat England keeper Joe Hart but cracked against the bar eight minutes from time.

But now England will be looking to prove themselves they are worthy of that top four spot in the FIFA world rankings after chants from Wales’ fans saying ‘fourth in the world, you’re having laugh’ in England’s lacklustre 1-0 victory over their noisy neighbours.

There are no surprises to the England line-up however Man United’s Danny Welbeck has been selected after he was unable to play last month’s games due to injury. He will be aiming to carry on his impressive club form of five goals in the last six games to the international stage.

Also Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker has been called up in the absence of Glen Johnson and Chris Smalling who are both out with injury. Walker showed quality in the North London derby on Sunday when he scored a stunning winner for Spurs. Andy Carroll, Darren Bent and Bobby Zamora, who all scored at the weekend, are in Fabio Capello’s 24-man squad.

Montenegro have shot up the FIFA world rankings to 26th, putting them above the likes of Republic of Ireland, Turkey and the United States. A remarkable feat given they are the newest international on the globe.

However, the Montenegrins are not without their problems. Former manager Zlatko Kranjcar, father of Spurs player Niko Kranjcar, was given the sack following a draw against Bulgaria and a defeat to Wales. Now the relatively inexperienced Branko Brnovic has been promoted from his assistant role to be in the hot seat.

This time around though, the home side will have Fiorentina starlet Stevan Jovetic who was absent in the previous game against England through long-term injury. The Three Lions will have to be on their guard going up against him.

Chelsea’s John Terry will need to take responsibility at the back to keep a young defence that includes Phil Jones and Kyle Walker calm and composed. A revitalised Frank Lampard will hope to start following a hat-trick for Chelsea against Bolton on Sunday.

England should have too much firepower for the Montenegro and produce a win in Podgorica but rest assured it will be a tough game and to secure a point will be a good result.

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  1. Pingback: Pearce could turn to Welbeck | Manchester United Schedule and Fixtures

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