Roy Hodgson’s England face two hugely important World Cup qualifiers on Friday and Tuesday that could go a long way to deciding whether the Three Lions take their place as one of the 32 competing nations at next summer’s finals in Brazil.
At present, Hodgson’s side sit in second place in Group H, trailing surprise leaders Montenegro by just two points, although with key home and away ties to come against the Balkan nation, starting on Tuesday in Podgorica.
Only the group winners and the best-ranked second-placed side are assured of automatic qualification for the 20th edition of the World Cup in 2014, while the other eight runners-up face the lottery of a two-legged playoff next November. This means England can ill afford any slip-ups between now and their final qualifier against third-placed Poland at Wembley in October.
So, we at Bleacher Report are examining just what Hodgson needs to get right between now and then if England are to make it to next summer’s global event.