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England looking to forge ahead of Montenegro

Published: Wednesday 31 August 2011, 13.52CET
Level with Montenegro at the Group G summit, England can seize the initiative by taking maximum points against Bulgaria and Wales, with their rivals only in action on Friday.
England looking to forge ahead of Montenegro
England manager Fabio Capello ahead of his side's meeting with Bulgaria ©Getty Images
 
Published: Wednesday 31 August 2011, 13.52CET

England looking to forge ahead of Montenegro

Level with Montenegro at the Group G summit, England can seize the initiative by taking maximum points against Bulgaria and Wales, with their rivals only in action on Friday.

Group G leaders England and Montenegro know they can ill afford another slip-up with the race to reach UEFA EURO 2012 entering the final straight. The teams, six points clear of the chasing pack, drew their last competitive outings in June against Switzerland and Bulgaria respectively. Should England complete the double over the latter, they will then look to steal a march on their rivals when they host Wales, whom Montenegro visit on Friday.

2 September: Bulgaria v England, Wales v Montenegro

6 September: Switzerland v Bulgaria, England v Wales

Latest standings

England (11 points)
Uncapped Manchester United FC trio Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Tom Cleverley, who featured at this summer's UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Denmark, are in the squad alongside in-form club-mates Ashley Young and Wayne Rooney, though Daniel Welbeck's injury against Arsenal FC denied him a chance. Manchester City FC, level at the top of the Premier League with their neighbours, provide six players.

Goalkeepers: Robert Green (West Ham United FC)*, Joe Hart (Manchester City FC), David Stockdale (Ipswich Town FC), Frank Fielding (Derby County FC)**.

Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton FC), Gary Cahill (Bolton Wanderers FC), Ashley Cole (Chelsea FC), Phil Jagielka (Everton FC), Phil Jones (Manchester United FC), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City FC), Micah Richards (Manchester City FC), Chris Smalling (Manchester United FC), John Terry (Chelsea FC).

Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City FC), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United FC), Stewart Downing (Liverpool FC), Adam Johnson (Manchester City FC), Frank Lampard (Chelsea FC), James Milner (Manchester City FC), Scott Parker (West Ham United FC), Theo Walcott (Arsenal FC), Ashley Young (Manchester United FC).

Forwards: Darren Bent (Aston Villa FC), Andy Carroll (Liverpool FC), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur FC), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United FC).

*Withdrawn
**Called up

Montenegro (11 pts)
Montenegro do without long-term injury victim Branko Bošković and suspended right-back Savo Pavićević for their trip to Wales, with recent Manchester City FC signing Stefan Savić to be given a chance after two goals in August's 3-2 friendly loss to Albania. "Savić has shown many times that he can play at right-back," coach Zlatko Kranjčar said. "Almost a year ago he was brilliant against England at Wembley and now he is a better and much more experienced player." Marko Baša has withdrawn with an adductor injury while fellow defenders Miodrag Džudović and Milan Jovanović are doubful.

Goalkeepers: Mladen Božović (Videoton FC), Srđan Blažić (Panetolikos), Ivan Janjušević (Vasas SC).

Defenders: Marko Baša (LOSC Lille Métropole)*, Milan Jovanović (PFC Spartak Nalchik), Stefan Savić (Manchester City FC), Radoslav Batak (FK Mogren), Saša Balić (NK Inter Zaprešić), Miodrag Džudović (PFC Spartak Nalchik).

Midfielders: Elsad Zverotić (BSC Young Boys), Milorad Peković (SpVgg Greuther Fürth), Mitar Novaković (FC Amkar Perm), Vladimir Božović (FC Rapid Bucureşti), Mladen Kašćelan (Jagiellonia Białystok), Nikola Drinčić (FC Krasnodar), Marko Ćetković (FK Mogren), Petar Grbić (Olympiacos FC), Simon Vukčević (Blackburn Rovers FC).

Forwards: Mirko Vučinić (Juventus), Radomir Djalović (FC Amkar Perm), Andrija Delibašić (Rayo Vallecano), Stevan Jovetić (ACF Fiorentina), Dejan Damjanović (FC Seoul).

*Withdrawn

Switzerland (5 pts)
Timm Klose has been retained in a young squad by Ottmar Hitzfeld following his debut in the friendly with Liechtenstein earlier this month. The BSC Young Boys pair of David Degen and Nassim Ben Khalifa return after missing June's 2-2 qualifying draw with England while Marco Padalino is also back following 13 months away. "He is a regular starter once more at Sampdoria and can help us with his pace," Hitzfeld said of Padalino. However, experienced midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta and defender Xavier Margairaz (both knee) are sidelined and Valon Behrami serves a ban. Hitzfeld has also lost goalkeeper Johnny Leoni, defender Steve von Bergen, and midfielder Pirmin Schwegler.

Goalkeepers: Diego Benaglio (VfL Wolfsburg), Marco Wölfli (BSC Young Boys), Johnny Leoni (FC Zürich)*, Yann Sommer (FC Basel 1893)**.

Defenders: Gaetano Berardi* (Brescia Calcio), Johan Djourou (Arsenal FC), Timm Klose (1. FC Nürnberg), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Philippe Senderos (Fulham FC), Steve von Bergen (AC Cesena)*, Reto Ziegler (Juventus), Heinz Barmettler (FC Zürich)**.

Midfielders: David Degen (BSC Young Boys), Blerim Dzemaili (SSC Napoli), Gelson Fernandes (Leicester City FC), Gökhan Inler (SSC Napoli), Marco Padalino (UC Sampdoria), Pirmin Schwegler (Eintracht Frankfurt)*, Xherdan Shaqiri (FC Basel 1893), Granit Xhaka (FC Basel 1893), Fabian Frei (FC Basel 1893)**.

Forwards: Nassim Ben Khalifa (BSC Young Boys), Eren Derdiyok (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Innocent Emeghara (Grasshopper-Club), Admir Mehmedi (FC Zürich).

*Withdrawn
**Called up

Bulgaria (5 pts)
Two years after his last cap, Alexander Tunchev is back in the squad having proved his fitness on loan with English second-division side Crystal Palace FC in the opening weeks of the season. The defender is joined by two newcomers from high-flying PSFC Chernomorets Burgas: Georgi Bozhilov and Tsvetomir Tsonkov. Lothar Matthäus, whose team are yet to score at home in qualifying, welcome England before taking on Switzerland four days later. "If we give our best and get the fans behind us, we could surprise England," said Matthäus.

Goalkeepers: Nikolay Mihaylov (FC Twente), Vladislav Stoyanov (FC Sheriff).

Defenders: Ivan Bandalovski (PFC CSKA Sofia), Ivan Ivanov (FK Partizan), Alexander Tunchev (Crystal Palace FC), Valentin Iliev (FC Steaua Bucureşti), Nikolay Bodurov (PFC Litex Lovech), Petar Zanev (PFC Litex Lovech), Kostadin Stoyanov (PFC CSKA Sofia), Zhivko Milanov (FC Vaslui).

Midfielders: Stiliyan Petrov (Aston Villa FC), Stanislav Manolev (PSV Eindhoven), Martin Petrov (Bolton Wanderers FC), Blagoy Georgiev (FC Terek Grozny), Tsvetomir Tsonkov (PSFC Chernomorets Burgas), Georgi Sarmov (Kasımpaşa SK), Marcos Marquinhos (Anorthosis Famagusta FC).

Forwards: Spas Delev (PFC CSKA Sofia), Ivelin Popov (Gaziantepspor), Svetan Genkov (Wisła Kraków), Georgi Bozhilov (PSFC Chernomorets Burgas).

Wales (0 pts)
Gary Speed has selected a 24-man squad as Wales look to get off the mark in in the group at the fifth and sixth attempts. James Collins features despite the Aston Villa FC defender being suspended against Montenegro, the first of two games for the principality, who then take on old rivals England at Wembley. Bolton Wanderers FC full-back Sam Ricketts remains absent with an Achilles injury sustained in February.

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Boaz Myhill (Birmingham City FC).

Defenders: Darcy Blake (Cardiff City FC), Danny Collins (Stoke City FC), James Collins (Aston Villa FC), Neal Eardley (Blackpool FC), Danny Gabbidon (Queens Park Rangers FC), Chris Gunter (Nottingham Forest FC), Adam Matthews (Celtic FC), Neil Taylor (Swansea City FC), Ashley Williams (Swansea City FC).

Midfielders: Joe Allen (Swansea City FC), Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur FC), Jack Collison (West Ham United FC), Andrew Crofts (Norwich City FC), Andy King (Leicester City FC), Joe Ledley (Celtic FC), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal FC), Hal Robson-Kanu (Reading FC), David Vaughan (Sunderland AFC).

Forwards: Craig Bellamy (Manchester City FC), Simon Church (Reading FC), Robert Earnshaw (Cardiff City FC), Steve Morison (Norwich City FC).

Last updated: 01/09/11 17.50CET

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