England are preparing to face Montenegro in their crunch FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifier on Tuesday, knowing that a win will put them in prime position to qualify directly for the finals next year—and anything less will leave them with plenty to do to avoid the playoffs.
Montenegro currently lead the UEFA section Group H by two points, with four more matches to play after this head-to-head battle between first and second place.
Roy Hodgson, manager of England, rested several key men against San Marino in anticipation of this clash, so the squad should be rested and ready to put everything into this match.
Here are the key men for the Three Lions as they try to bring three points home from Montenegro.
With the likes of Rio Ferdinand and John Terry unavailable for varying reasons, Joleon Lescott is suddenly the experienced central defender available to England.
While he has had an impressive past couple of seasons at club level, he has never really convinced of his ability to shine at the very highest level. He will, though, have to be at his absolute best to keep out an attack that contains the likes of Serie A duo Mirko Vucinic and Stevan Jovetic.
England will need a leader, an organiser and a good technical defender to keep Montenegro at bay, and it falls to Lescott to have to step up.
England's captain, and the man with 101 caps to his name to date, Steven Gerrard will be instrumental in any kind of good performance that the side puts in.
He is the hub of their best attacking moves, whether he starts them from deep or joins in further up the pitch, and over the past few years has set up a number of goals for teammates from his set piece delivery.
Gerrard may be asked to play a somewhat withdrawn role, at least from the start, but he will be the catalyst for a good England performance—or possibly the man to drag a result from a poor one.
England will certainly need to score against Montenegro, but the home side have only conceded two goals in qualifying so far.
Wayne Rooney, in good form for his country of late, will be looking to add to his total tally of 34 goals for England.
It remains to be seen if he is partnered by Jermain Defoe or, as Hodgson has preferred so far, Danny Welbeck, but either way Rooney will be the link between midfield and attack, and will have to likely come up with the goods in the penalty box for England to take the points.
England's youngest squad member could also be one of their most important in this game.
The only teenager in this 23-strong group, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has not been featuring too regularly for Arsenal of late, perhaps leaving him even more eager to make the most of his chance. He has already proven a valuable commodity in the final third for his nation, and whether he starts or appears off the bench, he could be the one to find the way through a resolute Montenegro defence.
Playing from either flank, Oxlade-Chamberlain brings an interesting combination of pace and skill that could be the key for England going forward, especially if they are trying to force the match late on.