Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 10th 2013 Contents A48
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday September 10, 2013
England will look to overcome a striker shortage
and shrug off bleak pronouncements about the state
of its national game by beating Ukraine today to
take a giant stride toward the 2014 World Cup.
Automatic qualification for finishing first in Group
H is up for grabs, with England leading on goal dif-
ference over Montenegro and one point clear of third-
place Ukraine with three matches left.
The English would be OK with a draw in Kiev,
which would keep the destiny of the group in their
hands ahead of home matches against Montenegro
and Poland in October.
A victory, however, would make a huge statement
after recent comments by the new chairman of the
Football Association, Greg Dyke, that English football
is a "tanker that needs turning" and that nobody
"realistically" thinks England will win next year s
World Cup in Brazil.
"I think if we can fly back with three points then
we re in a very strong position to go through," said
England midfielder Frank Lampard, who will start
the match for his 100th appearance for his country.
Being without its three leading strikers---Wayne
Rooney, Daniel Sturridge (both injured) and Danny
Welbeck (suspended)---isn t the only reason why Eng-
land will find it tough in the Ukrainian capital, though.
Ukraine has rediscovered its best form in recent
months, following up a 4-0 win at then-group leader
Montenegro in June with a national-record 9-0
trouncing of San Marino on Friday. The hosts are
also still hurting from an unlucky 1-0 loss to England
in Donetsk in last year s European Championship,
when they were denied a legitimate goal after the
ball crossed the line before being cleared by John
"Our team doesn t have the big names that England
has, but we (still) have good players," Ukraine captain
Anatoliy Tymoshchuk said.
"England has players known to the entire European
continent, but Ukraine is better."
One player who isn t so well known on the global
stage is Rickie Lambert, who will nevertheless lead
the forward line for England again today.
The Southampton striker has risen from obscurity
to play a starring role for Roy Hodgson s side, scoring
the winner on debut with his first touch as a substitute
in a 3-2 victory over Scotland last month and then
adding another goal---plus two assists---in the 4-0
win over Moldova on Friday.
At 31, Lambert is a late developer but he is making
up for lost time. This will be the first competitive
match outside England in his journeyman career.
"You are talking about a very mature person who
has seen all that football has to offer," Hodgson said.
"He has also seen the fact that if you are not in
football, what life has to offer is maybe not as good
Hodgson is renowned for being a cautious manager
so the temptation may be to set his team out not to
lose the match. Who he chooses to replace Welbeck
on the left wing will be telling---will it be the more
defensive-minded James Milner or a more out-and-
out winger in Ashley Young or even uncapped Andros
Otherwise, England will be unchanged from the
team that started against Moldova, with Lampard
becoming the country s eighth player to reach 100
caps. There will be two other centurions in the team---
captain Steven Gerrard and left back Ashley Cole,
who will both be making their 105th caps.
"I lost on my 100th cap so hopefully it can be dif-
ferent for Frank and he can go away with fond mem-
ories," Gerrard said yesterday. "This is going to be
our last crack at doing well at a World Cup and hope-
fully that s infectious for the group and the young
lads can see how much we want it and feed off that."
Ukraine coach Mykhailo Fomenko, a wily strategist
who has won four straight games since taking
over from Oleh Blokhin in December, has
no fresh injury problems and has to choose
between in-form pair Marco Devic and
Roman Zozulya for the lone-striker berth.
"England is very strong, it s a well-
known European team," Fomenko said
yesterday. "It s not only the match of my
life, but others as well."
Elsewhere in the group, Poland visits San
Marino seeking a win to keep its qualification
hopes alive. The fourth-place Poles are five
points behind the leaders and must still play
England and Ukraine away. Montenegro has
a night off after playing a game more than
its rivals. (AP)
First place at stake as
England heads to Ukraine
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