European Championship Qualifying
Montenegro v England Prediction, Group G, 20:00, Friday, 07 October
Author: Craig Miller
With domestic football having a much needed rest, everyone’s attention turns to the international break which sees England travel to Montenegro who are 2nd, behind the Three Lions in Group G.
The squad called up for the game contains few surprises with most being able to predict manager Fabio Capello's starting line-up.
Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand has been left out of the squad which enables Capello to experiment with the experienced defender’s team-mate Phil Jones, a player who has come on leaps and bounds in the last twelve months.
Those called into the frame have everything to prove ahead of the summer’s competition. With the aforementioned Ferdinand being left out, Steven Gerrard not fit enough and Spurs striker Jermaine Defoe firing blanks, the likes of Jones, Danny Welbeck and Bobby Zamora may all get a chance shine.
England are currently top of their group and need just a draw in Montenegro to guarantee their place in Poland/Ukraine for next summer’s European Championship. Considering it is the Eastern European side that lead the chasing pack it can be presumed that this game will be anything but a bore draw – they are a more than capable side.
Montenegro have shown that they should not be overlooked for qualification after suffering just one defeat in six so far, this coming at the hands of Wales at the Millennium Stadium.
England on the other hand have won five and drawn two, without any defeats to their name and find themselves firmly in the driving seat.
Without a win in three games, Montenegro will need to be at their best to beat an England team who are unbeaten since a friendly against France eleven months ago.
However, if they were able to secure victory on Friday, they would take control of the group and have their fate in their own hands ahead of the following week’s trip to Switzerland.
It’s almost a year to the day that the two sides played out a draw at Wembley in a game that saw England dominate for the majority and the away side having just three shots on goal, all tame efforts which were off target.
England are likely to line-up with as 4-5-1 set up with the two wide men going forward to create a 4-3-3 formation when they have the ball.
The options up front are clear for everyone to see but with the abundance of midfield talent it will be difficult for Capello to leave out so many players who will ultimately expect to play come June in the Ukraine, should the team qualify.
England are expected to come out on top and secure their place in next summer’s tournament, but many people won’t be holding their breath for a memorable display!
The travelling army of England support will be expecting nothing less than 100% from the team who require just a draw, but going away from home in an attempt to settle for a draw is a risky game to play.
It should be an open game, one which will see a few goals and hopefully see England rise to the occasion and come out on top.
Sportingways Euro 2012 Prediction:
Match Prediction: Asian Handicap -0.5, -1 England @ 2.000
Correct Score Prediction: Montenegro 0:2 England @ 6/1