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WC Qualification Europe

  • March 22, 2013
  • • 20:00
  • • Stadio Olimpico di Serravalle, Serravalle
  • Referee: A. Bieri
  • • Attendance: 4952

San Marino - England Preview: Roy Hodgson left with selection dilemma after Ferdinand withdrawal

San Marino - England Preview: Roy Hodgson left with selection dilemma after Ferdinand withdrawal

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The Three Lions take on Fifa's worst ranked international side and will be short of options in defence with the Manchester United defender, Gary Cahill & Michael Dawson all missing

Giampaolo Mazza has a full squad to select from ahead of England’s Friday night visit and is likely to field a similar side to the one that was thrashed 6-0 last time out by group leaders Montenegro.

Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson has had to deal with several selection issues ahead of the encounter, though, with Gary Cahill, Michael Dawson and Jack Wilshere all withdrawing through injury and Rio Ferdinand pulling out after his unexpected return to the England fold.

The catalogue of personnel changes leaves England short of options at centre-half, with Newcastle’s Steven Taylor in contention to win a first cap. However, it is likely Hodgson will opt for the relative international experience of Joleon Lescott and Chris Smalling ahead of the more match-primed duo of Taylor and Steven Caulker.

Steven Gerrard, Ashley Young and Kyle Walker were all absent from an early-week training session yet all are expected to be fit for the game, while Wayne Rooney is expected to partner Manchester United team-mate Danny Welbeck up front for the visitors.

  • England and San Marino have met three times previously, with the Three Lions winning every meeting with an aggregate score of 18 goals to one.
  • San Marino have not scored a goal in competitive football since 2004.
  • San Marino are currently joint bottom of Fifa's international rankings, level with Bhutan and Turks and Caicos Islands.
  • Joe Hart is the only player to have featured in every minute of England's 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign.
  • The last time England played away from Wembley they were on the receiving end of a four-goal Zlatan Ibrahimvich haul that resulted in Roy Hodgson's first defeat as Three Lions manager.
  • In terms of percentage of games won, Hodgson (61.5%) has edged ahead of Sir Alf Ramsay (61.1%) yet is in second-place in the all time list behind Fabio Capello (66.7%).
  • The estimated population of San Marino is 32,404 - enough to fill just over a third of Wembley.

Players to watch

A. Simoncini

Position: Goalkeeper

Games: 5

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After just four games of the 2014 World Cup qualifying group, San Marino goalkeeper Simoncini has already laid claim to the competition's least impressive goals against column, with 16 efforts being fired past him.

Though that averages out at just four per game, the hosts have fared slightly worse against the group's front-runners, conceding five last time out to England and six at home to Montenegro, so hopes will be pinned on Simoncini to play his part in keeping a creditable scoreline for as long as possible.

M. Carrick

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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Sections of the press have suggested that Manchester United midfielder cum makeshift centre-half Carrick may be a temporary solution to the defensive problems plaguing Roy Hodgson ahead of the game against minnows San Marino.

Irrespective of whether he fills in at the back or not, Friday night should offer a fair few clues of how important a member of Hodgson's squad Carrick really is, particularly with Jack Wilshere, the star of the show in the last outing against Brazil, out for the foreseeable future. Now would be the perfect time for Carrick to bring his quietly impressive club form to the international stage, especially bearing in mind the opposition.

Editor's Prediction

Anything but a win, and an emphatic one at that, is unthinkable for Roy Hodgson's side as they look to keep the heat up on group leaders Montenegro. Even if the Three Lions boss fields a weakened side with Tuesday's game in mind, the gulf in class between the two is almost unbridgable. This one should be as routine as they come.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

San Marino



Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

San Marino SMR
San Marino San Marino
England ENG
England England

Top 3 Predictions

San Marino SMR
0 - 3
England ENG
San Marino SMR
0 - 5
England ENG
San Marino SMR
0 - 4
England ENG