Mirko Vucinic, Montenegro
FIFA World Cup 2014 : UEFA Qualifying Matches - Montenegro v England
England manager Roy Hodgson has dismissed as "mind games" the attempts by his Montenegro counterpart Branko Brnovic to put pressure on his side.
Montenegro lead England by two points in Group H, with both teams having played five of their 10 World Cup qualifying matches for Rio 2014.
Branko Brnovic, Manager Montenegro
“We have Stevan Jovetic and Mirko Vucinic. Maybe England are more scared of this game than we are,” said Montenegro boss, Branko Brnovic at a press conference prior to their crucial World Cup qualifier against England, claiming that Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions' players are long-ball footballers who believe they have already qualified for Brazil 2014.
“I read in the press today statements from some English players about the way the pitch will look. As far as I know, the English have always favoured long passes,” Brnovic said. “This supports the idea that they’re more scared of this game than we are.”
On England’s last match in Montenegro, Wayne Rooney sent off for kicking Miodrag Dzudovic, earning him a two-match suspension that set back England’s Euro 2012 campaign.
“As far as I know, Rooney was the one who attacked our player last time, not vice versa,” said Brnovic. “I know that our strikers Jovetic and Vucinic always suffer strong kicks, but they never complain.
“English legends are already trying to resort to excuses for what happens tomorrow.”
The FA have reportedly planned friendlies against Germany and Argentina for November on the basis that England will defeat Montenegro and win Group H and avoid having to go through a winter play-off.
“Perhaps they organised the friendlies before the start of the qualifiers,” he said. “Perhaps after the game tomorrow they will have to cancel them. I would say that could be their undoing tomorrow.
“We are aware that we are playing a very strong national team. But we are playing in our own stadium, we have very good players and England will really have to toil to beat us.”
France v Spain: World Cup holders Spain are two points behind leaders France in Group I as they head to Paris, where victory is needed to put them back in contention to qualify automatically.
Azerbaijan v Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal lie third in Group F, four points adrift of leaders Russia and behind second-placed Israel on goal difference.
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