World Cup Qualifier Group H
Friday 7 September 2012; 7.45pm
Roy Hodgson’s men kick-off their road to Rio de Janiero 2014 against a Moldova side currently ranked 141st in the world.
England had a mixed European Championships, performing well in the group stages before crashing out against Italy in less than spectacular style. However there was a feeling of acceptance and reality amongst the English fans that has been detached from major tournaments for some years.
England, led by Steven Gerrard, will look to make a fast start against their Eastern-European opponents at the Zimbru stadium tonight, however the squad has been hampered by a number of injury concerns.
The most injuries consist in the forward position, with casualties to star striker Wayne Rooney and new West Ham signing Andy Carroll. Their absences enable the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Jermain Defoe and Danny Welbeck to compete for a first team place – Tottenham’s Defoe looking most likely after his strike against Italy late on.
There are also problems in the midfield and defence as both Scott Parker and Ashley Cole are ruled out of the contest. Parker’s absence enables Michael Carrick to return to the England fold, looking likely to return to the centre of midfield. At left-back, Leighton Baines, possibly one of the most unlucky men in football, will step-in for the injured Cole.
Joe Hart, Glen Johnson, John Terry, Gary Cahill, Leighton Baines, James Milner, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Theo Walcott, Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe.