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WC Qualification Europe

  • October 15, 2013
  • • 3:00 PM
  • • Wembley Stadium, London
  • Referee: D. Skomina
  • • Attendance: 85186

World Cup Qualifying Preview: England - Poland

The 4-1 triumph over Montenegro on Friday means that Roy Hodgson's side needs to beat Robert Lewandowski and Co. at Wembley to ensure a place in Brazil next summer.

England welcomes Poland to Wembley on Tuesday knowing the team must win to guarantee a place at World Cup 2014.

Roy Hodgson's side is on the verge of qualification after beating Montenegro on Friday but a failure to secure maximum points in the final group game would condemn the team to the playoffs if Ukraine beats San Marino, as expected.

Poland saw its hopes of reaching the finals extinguished on Friday when it was defeated 1-0 by Ukraine but can still have a big say on the outcome of Group H.

England fans and players will not need reminding of the clash between the sides in 1973 as Poland left the home team crestfallen, with goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski's heroics denying Alf Ramsey's side a place at the World Cup the following year.

The 1-1 draw also cost Ramsey his job and current captain Steven Gerrard has warned his teammates to maintain their focus to avoid another disaster.

"The job's half done," the midfielder told the press after the 4-1 win over Montenegro. "Poland are a very good team.

"They're going to come and do us no favors, like Montenegro, try to make it really difficult for us. It's important that we perform to the same level as on Friday night."

England should be confident given that the team has not lost a competitive fixture since being defeated 4-1 by Germany at World Cup 2010. At Wembley, England's unbeaten run in qualifiers stretches back to November 2007 when a 3-2 loss to Croatia denied the Three Lions progression to Euro 2008 and ended Steve McClaren's tenure as manager.

Poland's away form is something of a concern for coach Waldemar Fornalik, having won just once on its travels in qualifying, a 5-1 success over San Marino.

The visiting side fell to another away defeat on Friday and striker Robert Lewandowski is unsure why Poland continues to struggle.

"Sometimes I wonder exactly what we are missing," he remarked to reporters. "I am thinking in particular of a few draws in the matches we should be winning. There are moments when it seems that everything is going in the right direction.

"We go to England now, we know we have a lot of fans out there who will come to the game. We don't stand a chance of going through but we want to go to Wembley and at least allow our supporters a little fun."

England will be without Tom Cleverley (calf), Ashley Cole (rib) and the suspended Kyle Walker, but has called Liverpool midfielder Raheem Sterling into the squad as cover, while defender Lukasz Szukala will not be available for Poland after he was booked against Ukraine.

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