England boss confident Brazil 2014 qualifying remains “in our hands”
England’s World Cup qualification campaign had briefly looked like it was right back on track after Wayne Rooney’s sixth minute header had put them into the lead in Montenegro last night, but Dejan Damjanovic’s scrambled equaliser with 13 minutes remaining restored the status quo at the top of Group H, leaving Roy Hodgson’s men with two points to make up on their adversaries if they are to avoid the game of russian roulette that is the qualification play-offs.
That England are currently 2/5 to top Group H is largely down to the fact they’ll play three of their four remaining games – against Moldova, Montenegro and Poland – at Wembley.
Moldova have yet to score against England in three previous meetings, whilst the Poles haven’t avoided Wembley defeat in seven games since 1973.
The Three Lions last tasted competitive Wembley woe in the final qualifying game for Euro 2008 and since they’ve gone 11 qualifying home games without losing, winning on eight of those occasions.
England are 4-7 to remain unbeaten in qualifying, but with their Balkan rivals performing so strongly suspicions remain that they may have to win all four remaining games to finish first in Group H. Coral make them 9/4 to do so.
Clashes against Montenegro and away to the Ukraine look the trickiest propositions amongst their remaining fixtures. The last three meetings with Oleg Blokhin’s men have seen just one win for England whilst their last away game in the former-Soviet state saw the Three Lions slip to a 1-0 defeat.
Montenegro – 7/2 to win Group H – have won all three of their away ties in this campaign and cannot be relied upon to drop points on their away trip to Poland. The fledgling republic have now gone three games against England in the last four years without a loss.