England manager Roy Hodgson has described the national team’s World Cup qualifier with Ukraine on Tuesday as akin to a cup final, the
Hodgson’s side go into the fixture in Kiev top of Group H, above Montenegro on goal difference having played a game less, and ahead of the hosts by a point. Both England and Ukraine have seven games under their belt in the group and a win for the visitors would open up a four-point gap with two games to play.
Admitting that England were approaching a make-or-break point in their quest to qualify for the World Cup in 2014, Hodgson said: “We are getting closer to the situation where we are either going to achieve our goals and qualify for the World Cup or we are going to fail.
“Of course that is pressure but that is part and parcel of the business. You cannot get away from that, but admitting it, what does that do? What would you like me to say? ‘I don’t feel any pressure; I couldn’t care less; I can’t sleep at night; I can’t sleep a wink; I’m frightened to death that we are going to lose?’”
Hodgson confirmed that there would be only one change to the XI that took to the field against Ukraine from the one that dispatched Macedonia 4-0 on Friday at Wembley, with Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck absent due to suspension. But Hodgson refused to confirm if Manchester City midfielder James Milner would be the one to replace Welbeck, instead telling the assembled press: “I’ll leave that up to your imagination.”
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