Monday, 25 March 2013

Underhanded tactics from Montenegrins will not work

Patchwork in Podgorica for England.

Ahead of England’s vital World Cup qualifier with Montenegro it seems there has been no love lost, with the frightened Montenegrins preparing to douse their makeshift pitch with sprinklers in a lacking attempt to ruin England’s hopes.

It was revealed this week that the Podgorica men will drench their own field in the hope of recreating a similar playing surface to the one England struggled on against Poland last October, managing just a 1-1 draw.

A similar result for Montenegro in their capital tomorrow evening would ensure that Branko Brnovic’s side maintain their place as Group H leaders. They currently sit just two points clear of England.

When tactics are coming down to such lows as ruining the surface of play it is time to admit you are worried about the opposition’s strengths – but instead Brnovic passed the buck.

He told the BBC this week: “We have [Fiorentina striker] Stevan Jovetic and [Juventus forward] Mirko Vucinic. Maybe England are more scared of this game than we are.”

The Montenegro coach also accused the England players of using the conditions of the pitch as a potential excuse in case they are defeated in the game. Although most fans of the national team would usually frown upon the players using the pitch as an excuse, this time they may have a valid point.

But despite the conditions, the Three Lions have enough quality in the squad to easily see off the challenge of Montenegro – especially on the back of a confidence-boosting 8-0 drumming of minnows San Marino.

The England central defensive partnership of Joleon Lescott and Chris Smalling may not have had regular places in their respective teams this season, but they have shown individually that they are both talented defenders, and will relish the chance to prove their abilities to boss Roy Hodgson.

England have moved on since the draw against Poland last year – the most important of these advancements has seen more young talent emerging through the squad – including the likes of Danny Welbeck, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Daniel Sturridge, Tom Cleverley and Kyle Walker.

With this in mind the future for English football is looking brighter than ever - and a drizzly pitch in Southeast Europe is going to be very hard pressed to stop that. Prediction? England win.

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