England host Moldova at Wembley in a World Cup qualifier on Friday night.
Considering England's tenuous position in UEFA group H, a win is the least expected of manager Roy Hodgson ahead of the game against Ukraine next week. England are currently placed second in the group, two points behind Montenegro and one point ahead of Ukraine. Both Ukraine and England have played one less game than Montenegro. With only four fixtures left (three for Montenegro), it seems that the two qualification places will be determined from the three teams mentioned. Poland, who are three points behind England, have an outside chance of making it but would have to overtake two of the teams. Moldova are seven points behind England and are not considered to have a chance at qualification.
With Ukraine are expected to beat San Marino, England must win this game to keep pace. If both teams win, as they are expected to, Tuesday's fixture between England and Ukraine will go a long way to determining who would make it to Brazil next year. It is important to note that only first place guarantees qualification, the second placed team will be forced into a play-off with another second placed team. Therefore, if England finish second in the group there is still a chance they may not qualify.
The first match between Moldova and England finished 5-0 in favour of Hodgson's team. Frank Lampard scored twice while Jermaine Defoe, James Milner and Leighton Baines grabbed the other goals.
Moldova, however, are in considerably good form, being unbeaten in the last three games. Their last group H fixture was an impressive 1-1 draw with Poland. The result was followed by a 2-1 win against Kyrgystan and a 1-1 draw with Andorra.
England enters the game under injury crises. Up front, Wayne Rooney is out with a head injury and Daniel Sturridge will also be missing with thigh problems. Liverpool defender Glen Johnson will not feature due to an ankle injury and Manchester United's Phil Jones is also ruled out.
Moldova are expected to field a side similar to draw against Andorra. Alexandru Dedov is expected to continue up-front after scoring the equaliser in the game.
Where to Watch
Kick-off is at 12:30 am IST (Saturday, 7 September) and live coverage is available on Star Sports.