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Montenegro ready to test England's mettle

Published: Sunday 24 March 2013, 17.55CET
Montenegro striker Mirko Vučinić has promised that his team will "give every last drop of sweat" as they look to tighten their grip on qualifying Group H against England on Tuesday.
by Aleksandar Radović
from Podgorica
Montenegro ready to test England's mettle
Montenegro lie two points clear of England in Group H ©AFP

Published: Sunday 24 March 2013, 17.55CET

Montenegro ready to test England's mettle

Montenegro striker Mirko Vučinić has promised that his team will "give every last drop of sweat" as they look to tighten their grip on qualifying Group H against England on Tuesday.

Montenegro striker Mirko Vučinić has urged caution from his side but promised that the Group H leaders will "give every last drop of sweat" at home against 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying rivals England on Tuesday.

Vučinić scored with 12 minutes remaining to earn Montenegro a 1-0 victory in Moldova on Friday, despite the dismissal of Milorad Peković just after the hour mark. That result kept Branko Brnović's troops two points clear of England after five games, their upcoming opponents having downed San Marino 8-0 on the same night.

"This is a game we've waited for since the start," said Vučinić, the Juventus forward having racked up his 14th international goal in Chisinau. "Matches against teams like England are something special. I know our fans will have massive expectations after our win in Moldova, but we must stay calm and realistic.

"We are still Europe's newest national team and England are a football heavyweight. What we can do is give everything we have, give every last drop of sweat on Tuesday and see if that will be enough to get a good result against such a strong opponent."

Montenegro twice denied England during UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying, earning a 0-0 stalemate at Wembley ahead of a 2-2 draw in Podgorica, and a similar result would keep them top of the section.

"We have two more points than England and there's no need to take risks from the beginning," added Brnović. "What we had to do in Moldova, England must do in Podgorica. They need a win, so the most important thing is for us not to concede a goal. We are very dangerous on the counterattack, and Vučinić and Stevan Jovetić could give the England defence a hard time."

ACF Fiorentina playmaker Jovetić will be especially motivated as he aims to end a run of seven competitive internationals without a goal.

"This is massive game for us and our fans," explained the 23-year-old. "I'm proud that we'll be welcoming such a great team as group leaders. After a hard-fought win in Moldova, we have a lot of self-confidence. We're on the right track, and with a positive result against England we'll be closer to the play-offs and will be able to fight for first place in the group up until the end."

The hosts will nonetheless be missing four key players, with Peković and Savo Pavićević both suspended and injuries ruling out Nikola Drinčić and Branko Bošković. "Our chances would be much greater with them, but I'm not going to cry about it," said Brnović. "I believe in all my players and I am sure we can reach our goal."

Last updated: 24/03/13 23.36CET

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