Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 11th 2013 Contents A50
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, October 11, 2013
LONDON --- England knows that two victories in its
final World Cup qualifiers will guarantee a spot in
Brazil next year, with a game against Montenegro at
Wembley first up in Group H today.
The Three Lions play at home against Poland on
Tuesday, looking to avoid missing out on the World
Cup for the first time in 20 years. Ahead of today s
matches, England leads Montenegro and Ukraine by
one point and is three points ahead of Poland. Ukraine
plays Poland today and San Marino away on Tuesday.
Here are five things to know about today s games.
ROONEY BACK AND HAPPY
England manager Roy Hodgson is welcoming back
Wayne Rooney after the Manchester United striker
missed the September internationals because of a head
injury. The really good news for Hodgson is that Rooney
is back in form, and looks happy again following Alex
Ferguson s retirement.
Rooney complained of being used out of position
during Ferguson s final year at United and having to
play in midfield. But he insisted he is now happy under
new manager David Moyes, who is playing him up
"There came a point where I had to be a bit selfish
for my own career," said Rooney. "Everyone at the club
knew where I wanted to play. That wasn t happening.
I ve had no problem playing out of position in the past,
but I m a forward and I felt I deserved the right to play
in my position."
Group H is the tightest of all nine European groups,
with the top four separated by three points and all
playing each other in the final qualifiers, but Hodgson
is confident his team will make it to Brazil. The last
time England did not qualify for the World Cup was
in 1994, and Hodgson believes his players will avoid
such a "doomsday" scenario.
"My life at the moment is on these two games (against
Montenegro and Poland)," Hodgson said. "As for the
doomsday scenarios put before me, I won t have to
confront them because I believe and am confident the
team will do it."
England was held to a 1-1 draw by Montenegro in
March and also shared the points with Poland after
another 1-1 draw in Warsaw last year.
HART STILL NUMBER ONE
England goalkeeper Joe Hart s season has been marred
by blunders, but the Manchester City player has Hodg-
son s full backing ahead of the crucial double header.
Hart made two big mistakes in City s 3-1 loss to Bayern
Munich in the Champions League, yet his position as
England s No 1 keeper is not in danger.
"As far as I m concerned, Joe Hart is my No 1. He
has never let me down," Hodgson said. "I am not blind
to the situation, I do realise it is not a good moment
for Joe. I still believe in Joe. I believe he is the right
man for the job and I don t believe he will let England
NO GOALS GUARANTEED,
BUT SPECTATORS AT LEAST
Ukraine will have the luxury of playing Poland in
front of spectators after FIFA lifted an empty stadium
ban to examine an appeal that challenged the governing
body s findings of racist and threatening behavior by
Ukrainian fans during the September 6 qualifier against
San Marino in Lviv.
Ukraine coach Mykahilo Fomenko welcomed the
decision, saying the fans will likely give a useful boost
to his team.
LESS PLAYING TIME FOR
Last month, the head of English football said an
alarmingly small talent pool of Englishmen in the
Premier League had weakened the national team. Now
a study for the BBC shows the minutes played by home
country players in the Premier League is lower than
all major European leagues.
English footballers account for less than a third of
all the minutes played in the Premier League, down
from 32.25 per cent in 2007-08 to 31.8 per cent, football
statisticians Opta said in the study.
In total, 60.93 per cent of minutes in the Premier
League have been completed by foreign players so far
England can reach
W Cup with two wins
takes part in an
England will play
Montenegro in a
World Cup Group
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