The top two teams in Group H will clash this week when Montenegro take on England in their 2014 World Cup qualifying match on Tuesday afternoon.
The Three Lions scored an impressive 8-0 win against San Marino in their most recent qualifier, taking their total goals scored in the tournament to 20. Montenegro, on the other hand, scored a solid 1-0 win away over Moldova to continue their reign on top of the group.
For both teams, this match will be one of the biggest tests that either will have faced in the qualifiers so far, and it's shaping up to be a very fascinating affair as a result.
Who will emerge on top of the group after this thrilling top-of-the-table clash?
Read on for a full preview and predictions for this World Cup qualifier, including all the need-to-know details and viewing information.
Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Start time: 4 p.m. ET (United States)
Venue: Podgorica City Stadium, Podgorica, Montenegro
Live Stream and TV Information
Coverage of this match is available via Gol TV USA and ESPN Deportes throughout the United States, according to Live Soccer TV.
BBC Radio 5 Live, ITV 1, UTV will do the same throughout the United Kingdom.
A live stream of the match is available via ESPN3 and LiveSport.TV.
2014 World Cup Qualifying So Far
As mentioned before, neither Montenegro nor England have lost a World Cup qualifying match so far, and both will be looking to extend that streak with a strong performance here.
Montenegro sit on top of Group H with 13 points from their five games so far—drawing in just one of their fixtures played so far. That came in the opening round against Poland (which finished 2-2), and since then, they have won four straight games in the qualifying process.
Perhaps most impressive is the fact that in their wins against San Marino, Ukraine and Moldova they didn't allow a single goal.
They'll be looking to show similar defensive strengths against England here—particularly given how dominant they looked against San Marino.
The Three Lions netted eight goals in a big win—making it the third time this tournament they have netted five or more goals in a single game.
England are also yet to be beaten in their qualifying games, with just 1-1 draws against Poland and Ukraine costing them valuable group points.
They'll no doubt be keen to continue their attacking dominance when they take on the Eastern European nation this week.
Player to Watch: Wayne Rooney, FW, England
Given the likelihood that England will be attacking early against Montenegro, the key player to watch will obviously be that of their best striker—Wayne Rooney.
The Manchester United man has been in dynamic form for the Red Devils this year across various competitions, with his ability to drop back and create an attack—as well as get forward and finish it—proving to be a real strength for whatever team he lines up for this season.
England will no doubt be looking to him to try and get through the Montenegro defense, which has shown great resistance over the past few games.
Yet for Rooney, this game will also carry extra significance with it, after being sensationally sent off last time he played against the Brave Falcons. His frustration and anger on the night caused him to lash out at his opponent and kick his calf—seeing red from the referee instantly.
Rooney will be looking for an inspired performance here not only to put England in a stronger position regarding their World Cup dream, but also to erase the bad memories that exist against Montenegro. He'll be keen to show that that night was nothing but a one-off moment and that he can indeed find his best against the Brave Falcons.
Given how strong both teams have been in the qualifying process so far, this match will could be one of the best fixtures seen so far in the tournament. Both sides have attacking strength and defensive capabilities that will test the other, and it should produce a thrilling match on the night.
England, despite being away from home, will fancy their chances against Montenegro after their incredible attacking display last weekend. And whilst their opponents in this one are much more efficient at the back, don't be surprised to see them find the goals column again here.
Rooney and company are an impressive force for their day and have the individual talent required to challenge the Brave Falcons' defense in this one.
It certainly won't be easy, but I think the Three Lions might just break them down in the end—scoring a relatively late goal to break the deadlock and giving them the win as a result.
England to the top of the group with a 1-0 win here.
Prediction: Montenegro 0, England 1
What do you think will happen in this 2014 World Cup qualifier?
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