Montenegro striker Mirko Vucinic would be surprised if England top Group H in qualification for World Cup 2014 ahead of his nation.
The two teams clash in Podgorica on Tuesday with Montenegro leading second-placed England by two points.
And Vucinic, who turns out for Serie A leaders Juventus at club level and scored Montenegro’s late winner against Moldova on Friday, believes all the anxiety ahead of the match is England’s.
“Maybe when the group was drawn, people thought we should have been scared of England, that we should be worried about their big players,” he told the Daily Mirror.
“But we’re not scared of anybody – we are fearless as a nation. I’m not surprised we are top of the group and the only thing that will surprise me is if we don’t stay there.
“We don’t consider England a superior footballing nation to us. They might be our rivals for winning the group, but we are confident we can stay at the top.”
Vucinic also expects his compatriot Stevan Jovetic – the Fiorentina striker reportedly on the radar of Arsenal, among others – to pose major problems for Roy Hodgson’s improvised defence and leave England striker Wayne Rooney in the shade.
The Manchester United forward saw red for kicking out at Miodrag Dzudovic the last time he played in Podgorica as England secured a 2-2 draw against the Montenegrins to qualify for Euro 2012.
“England will be in for a very difficult game,” Vucinic said. “Our fans create a very intimidating atmosphere, but England already know this.
“Wayne Rooney was sent off here last time and our fans will make it very difficult for the players again.
“It is not an easy stadium to play in for the opposition and the England coach I am sure will be telling his players to keep a calm head this time.
“It is true Rooney is a great player for England and one of the best strikers in the world, but Jovetic is one of the world’s most in-form strikers.
“I am not surprised Arsenal are interested in him because he is a top striker, but I have told him to stay in Italy. Juventus are back competing in Europe and it would be an excellent move for him and us.
“With myself and Jovetic, England will be in for a tough time and with their defensive issues we must try to exploit that.
“They will have a defender playing who does not normally play and we must look to put him under pressure. Jovetic and myself know how we both play, and we will switch sides.”
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