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England v. Montenegro: Match Preview

England will look to take a positive step towards 2014 World Cup qualification with a win against Group H challengers Montenegro at Wembley Stadium on Friday night.

England will look to take a positive step towards 2014 World Cup qualification with a win against Group H challengers Montenegro at Wembley Stadium on Friday night.

The Three Lions, who are currently sitting atop Group H with 16 points, are just one point clear of Ukraine and Montenegro with two qualifiers remaining.

England must win the group in order to earn automatic qualification for next year’s World Cup finals in Brazil, but a second-place finish would force a play-off in November.

Team News

Ashley Cole, 32, has been ruled out of the match after picking up a rib injury against Norwich City last weekend.

Roy Hodgson has recalled Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs to replace Cole in the England squad, but Leighton Baines is expected to start on Friday, and rightfully so.

Stevan Jovetić will probably recover from the ‘small problem’ that kept him out of Manchester City’s squad against Everton at the weekend, but Juve hitman Mirko Vučinić (thigh) remains a doubt for the visitors.

Players to Watch

Former Manchester City defender Stefan Savić, 22, will be the key player for Hrabri sokoli. Montenegro boss Branko Brnović will be seeking more of the same from Savić, who has started the 2013/14 Serie A season on sensational form for Fiorentina.

For England, the in-form Wayne Rooney is undoubtedly main man, so much so that he is 11/8 to score anytime at Wembley on Friday night.

Quotes

Stevan Jovetić: “I think they [England] have more pressure than us because they are expected to win – and expect to win.

“The fact that we have drawn three times with England gives us confidence for this game and the fact we have Moldova at home [next week]. England have us and then Poland. It is going to be a big fight to see which country goes through.”

 Jovetić, who has scored 10 goals in 27 international caps for Montenegro to date, is 14/1 to score first or last and 9/2 to score anytime against the Three Lions.

England squad:

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, Fraser Forster, John Ruddy.

Defenders: Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill, Kieran Gibbs, Phil Jagielka, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker.

Midfielders: Ross Barkley, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, James Milner, Andros Townsend, Jack Wilshere.

Forwards: Jermain Defoe, Rickie Lambert, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Daniel Welbeck.

Montenegro squad:

Goalkeepers: Mladen Božović, Vukašin Poleksić.

Defenders: Stefan Savić, Savo Pavićević, Marko Baša, Miodrag Džudović, Ivan Kecojević, Marko Simić, Vladimir Volkov, Milan Jovanović, Vladimir Božović.

Midfielders: Nikola Drinčić, Elsad Zverotić, Simon Vukčević, Milos Krkotic, Mitar Novaković, Milorad Peković.

Forwards: Stevan Jovetić, Mirko Vučinić, Dejan Damjanović, Fatos Bećiraj, Filip Kasalica, Andrija Delibašić.

Betting Odds

England (4/11); Montenegro (8/1); Draw (4/1)

Match Prediction

England 2 – Montenegro 0 (11/2)

Wed 9 October, 2013
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