After defeating Montenegro on Friday, England take on Poland at Wembley on Tuesday in a crucial game, with their fate very much in their hands.
With Ukraine virtually certain to beat San Marino, England must win here to secure their place in Brazil and avoid a two-legged play-off. Manager Roy Hodgson’s decision to give a debut to winger Andros Townsend against Montenegro was emphatically proved to be the correct one, and England will once again look to him to unsettle the Polish defence.
The visitors will be dangerous opponents. Having been eliminated after their defeat in Ukraine on Friday, Poland will be playing under no pressure whatsoever, and they will receive significant support as 18,000 tickets were made available for them by the FA, ensuring that the atmosphere will be electric.
The England defence can expect a more significant threat than that posed by Montenegro, with Poland possessing Borussia Dortmund’s attacking duo of Jakub Blaszczykowski and Robert Lewandowski, although their defence could prove a weakness.
For some of the more inexperienced players in the squad, it will be the biggest game of their careers, while the older heads such as Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard using the defeat to Croatia in 2007, which meant that they would not qualify for Euro 2008, as inspiration.
As on Friday, England will be without Ashley Cole, Tom Cleverley and Theo Walcott. The only change expected is either Phil Jones or Chris Smalling replacing Kyle Walker at right-back, after the Tottenham player picked up a yellow card on Friday which rules him out of this match.
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