Montenegro v England: World Cup Qualifier Match Preview

26 March 2013 08:43

England head to Montenegro tomorrow night in the knowledge that a positive result will leave them in pole position to secure automatic qualification for the 2014 World Cup.

Roy Hodgson's side are two points behind the hosts ahead and will go top of Group H with a victory.

The visitors are expected to make at least five changes from the side that beat San Marino 8-0 last Friday, with Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole and Michael Carrick all in line for a recall.

Theo Walcott is definitely out of the contest, while Glen Johnson also faces a late fitness check to make the starting XI, but will definitely be in contention to start if fit.

Wayne Rooney will be desperate to banish memories of his last trip to Montenegro, which saw him sent off and earn a suspension that forced the forward to miss two matches during last summer's European Championships.

England boss Roy Hodgson has no concerns over his star man.

“Wayne made a mistake, held his hand up and publicly admitted it was a mistake. He paid a high price for it because he missed two of the opening games in the European Championship. He won’t need me to tell him or remind him – it will be fresh in his memory, but all I can repeat is that his disciplinary record with us is very good and he certainly hasn’t let me down when he’s played so I’ve got no reason to doubt him.”

An 8-0 thrashing of minnows San Marino was nothing more than a morale-booster for Hodgson's team, and they will face a far sterner test on Tuesday.

Montenegro recorded a 1-0 win over Moldova in Chisinau on Friday, with Mirko Vucinic scoring the only goal of the game.

The Juventus striker is the most high-profile player in the squad, along with Fiorentina's highly rated forward Stevan Jovetic.

English Premier League fans will also be familiar with Stefan Savic, who spent one season with Manchester City in 2011/12, before joining Jovetic in Florence. Strike duo Stevan Jovetic and Mirko Vucinic possess a potent mix of power and guile and represent the biggest threat to England's chances of victory.

Predicted England Line-Up: Joe Hart; Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott, Chris Smalling, Ashley Cole; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Steven Gerrard, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young; Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck.

Source: DSG