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FIFA World Cup Qualifying Preview: England v Moldova

England will be hopeful of a big victory against Moldova to build momentum ahead of next week’s crucial FIFA World Cup qualifier in Ukraine.

Roy Hodgson’s men welcome Moldova to Wembley on Friday and are expected to record a resounding victory against the minnows.

England are unbeaten in their last six matches but are still in danger of missing next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

They sit second in Group H, two points behind Montenegro with a game in hand, while Ukraine are snapping at their heels in third, just one point further back.

With the side who finishes first automatically qualifying, and the second being sent into the play-offs, Tuesday’s qualifier in Kiev is particularly important.

And because of that England will look to win well against Moldova to boost their confidence.

Hodgson has selected a typically strong squad, with captain Steven Gerrard set to lead the team alongside the likes of goalkeeper Joe Hart and attacker Theo Walcott.

England do have a series of injury problems though, with Wayne Rooney (cut head) withdrawing from the squad, along with Liverpool’s Glen Johnson and Manchester United’s Phil Jones.

In-form striker Daniel Sturridge is also in the squad but is in doubt due to groin pain. Sturridge has scored five goals in his four matches for Liverpool this season.

Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere is expected to be fit despite following stomach cramps last week, while Cardiff defender Steven Caulker could win his second cap after being called up as cover.

Moldova – ranked joint-123rd in the world, more than 100 places below England – will enter the match on the back of a three-match unbeaten run.

An excellent 1-1 home draw to Poland in Group H was followed by a 2-1 friendly win over Kyrgyzstan.

And they drew 1-1 at home to Andorra last month in another friendly thanks to Alexandru Dedov’s equaliser.

They are expected to line up with a 4-5-1 formation and play for a point, but England should have too much quality for them.

The two sides last met in last September’s reverse fixture, with England winning 5-0 in Chisinau.

Frank Lampard scored a double in that fixture, while Jermain Defoe, James Milner and Leighton Baines also netted.

England have won all three meetings between the two sides, with their last clash at Wembley ending in a 4-0 win to England in September 1997.

Wed 4 September, 2013
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