With their hopes of qualifying for next year’s World Cup still in the balance, England face Moldova in the first of two matches which will give a much clearer indication of their fate.
Manager Roy Hodgson has had much to contend with in recent days, with injuries to several key players, and new FA chairman Greg Dyke’s comments regarding their chances of glory in Brazil. So far, the performances during the qualifying campaign have been unconvincing, with wins only coming against the bottom two sides in Group H.
This game should be fairly comfortable for England, despite the lack of attacking options, as the real test is likely to come when they travel to Kiev to face Ukraine on Tuesday for a vital game.
Moldova are likely to defend in numbers, though should be more ambitious than the likes of San Marino. They have taken five points from their matches thus far, taking points off Ukraine and Poland at home.
With Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge both ruled out, Hodgson has turned to Rickie Lambert to lead the line, after the Southampton man netted against Scotland on his international debut in August.
The England boss does still have a decision to make on his central defensive partnership, while Leighton Baines might get the nod ahead of Ashley Cole at left-back, although the line-up for Tuesday, against tougher opponents, may contain changes from this game.
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