Picture
England are favourites to progress from Group H
England will face Montenegro, Ukraine, Poland, Moldova, and San Marino in Group H when they bid to qualify for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil. 

None of the sides England will face in Group H feature in the top fifteen teams of FIFA's World Rankings so we take a closer look at the nations England must conquer to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

Montenegro (FIFA World Ranking: 17th)

Montenegro are the newest international side in the world after coming into existence following the 2006 World Cup in Germany. They split from Serbia after both countries were made independent states and Montenegro are now ten places above the Serbs in the FIFA World Rankings.

England fans will be familiar with the Montenegro side after a 0-0 draw at Wembley in October during the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

Juventus' Mirko Vucinic captains Montenegro and is also the country's top goalscorer after netting eleven times for 'The Brave Falcons'. Simon Vukcevic, who plays for Portuguese club side Sporting, has the most caps with twenty-seven appearances at International level.

At the moment, only one member of the Montenegro squad is set to feature in the Premier League this season, that being Manchester City's 20-year-old defender, Stefan Savic.

Interestingly, the last time Montenegro lost a competitive game was back in September 2009 when they were beaten 4-1 by Bulgaria in Sofia with Dimitar Berbatov scoring a penalty.

This run of form is reflected in Montenegro's FIFA ranking and England will know that they are the main side to watch when qualification gets underway in 2012.

Ukraine (FIFA World Ranking: 45th)

Ukraine are also a fairly new international side after being formed in 1992 when they gained independence and broke away from the Soviet Union.

Former Chelsea and AC Milan striker, Andriy Shevchenko, captains the Ukrainian side and is also the nation's top marksman with forty-five goals, thirty more than second-placed Serhiy Rebrov.

Anatoliy Tymoshchuk is Ukraine's most capped player with 106 caps for the side who are ranked 45th in the world by FIFA.

Not one player from the current Ukrainian squad applies their trade in England with seventeen of the twenty players competing at club level in their native land, Ukraine.

England will be familiar with Ukraine though with the sides meeting four times previously. 'The Three Lions' have a better head to head record with three wins to Ukraine's one and will be confident considering the recent loss of form from the side nicknamed 'The Yellow-Blues'.

English referee, Mark Clattenburg, took charge of Ukraine's most recent fixture against France where they were beaten 4-1 in Donetsk but they will definitely be a side England have to be wary of with the likes of Voronin and Shevchenko always a threat.

Poland (FIFA World Ranking: 69th)

Poland have had relative success in previous World Cups and have finished in third place on two occasions back in 1974 and 1982. They also have two silver medals and a gold at the Olympic Games.

Jakub Błaszczykowski captains the Polish national side who are nicknamed 'The White Eagles' and who find themselves ranked at 69th in the world by FIFA.

Włodzimierz Lubański is considered as one of Poland's true greats and he still holds the goal-scoring record after netting forty-eight times for his national side. 

English fans will recognize two players from the current Polish national squad, Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski. Both represent Arsenal in the Premier League and are currently battling each other for the number one goalkeeper jersey at the Emirates Stadium.

Poland have appeared in seven previous World Cup Finals but missed out on qualification for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and are just a shadow of the successful Poland team of the seventies and eighties.

England won't count Poland as the most dangerous side in Group H but the Poles recently beat Argentina 2-1 in Warsaw and so are clearly capable of pulling off an upset.

Moldova (FIFA World Ranking: 85th)

Moldova have never qualified for a World Cup and it will be an uphill task for them to advance from Group H with England and Montenegro the sides most likely to top the standings.

Moldova finished bottom of their qualification group for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa without winning a game. Switzerland topped the group finishing just one point above runners-up, Greece.

Neither their top-scorer, Serghei Clescenco, or most capped, Radu Rebeja, compete at international level for Moldova after retiring so it will be up to captain, Alexandru Epureanu, to lead the side in qualification.

As for their squad, there isn't a single player who plays club football in Britain so the Moldova side may need to be scouted to avoid any uncomfortable surprises for England manager, Fabio Capello. 

San Marino (FIFA World Ranking: 203rd)

The lowest ranked team in the FIFA World Rankings at 203rd, San Marino seem to just be making up the numbers in Group H.

Captain and Top-Scorer, Andy Selva, will be thinking more positively despite this and will be hoping that San Marino's reputation may work in their favour as the sides they play could become complacent.

The omens are not good though with just one victory in 105 competitive games and a goal difference of -323 in these fixtures combined.

Again, there are no players from San Marino applying their trade in England with most competing in their native homeland although the two sides have played each other twice beforehand, England winning both.

It is always dangerous to underestimate any international side but with San Marino's track record, the likes of Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere won't be having sleepless nights before facing 'La Serenissima'.
 


Comments

03/23/2012 18:52

Nice info bro

Reply
07/16/2012 21:15

Nice one info, thx

Reply



Leave a Reply