England will contest their first competitive international fixture this Friday, heading across Europe to Moldova where they will kick off World Cup 2014 qualification.
Manager Roy Hodgson—named to the post weeks before the past European Championships,e where England bowed out on penalties to Italy in the quarterfinals—has named a strong 23-man side for the set of two games (England face Ukraine at Wembley Stadium on September 11).
The decision to include John Terry, twice stripped of the team captaincy in the past two years, was the biggest news last week.
It remains to be seen exactly how the Three Lions will line up against Moldova. Hodgson had utilized a classic 4-4-2 formation during the European Championships but switched to the popular 4-2-3-1 lineup sweeping throughout Europe in last month's friendly 2-1 win over Italy.
Given that Andy Carroll led the forward line in that one, and has pulled out of the upcoming qualifiers due to injury, Hodgson may just revert to the 4-4-2.
What could be most intriguing are the personnel who fit that lineup. A number of the Old Guard remain with the side, but there are a number of promising newcomers—some very young, others more established but finally getting their shot at the national level—who could make an impact.
We'll see how it goes on Friday. Here's five things to watch for.