The 2014 World Cup is now less than a year away, and we’re getting down to the business end of qualifying for the finals in Brazil.
England takes on Poland on October 15 at Wembley Stadium in a qualifier that could prove vital for both teams. With Montenegro ahead of them at the top of Group H, and Ukraine hot on their heels in third place, England may well need to win this one to qualify automatically for the World Cup.
However, qualification is still in England’s hands, as they have one game more to play than Montenegro going into September’s matches, and a one-point cushion over Ukraine. Put simply; win all their remaining games, against Moldova, Ukraine, Montenegro and Poland and England will be on the plane to Brazil as automatic qualifiers.
But qualification is certainly not out of the question for Poland, who are in fourth place, but have a tough game against Montenegro in September, followed by a trip to Ukraine still to contend with.
But with two games still to play against the group’s minnows, San Marino, Ukraine could well be there to pounce should their rivals drop any points.
Playing Poland at Wembley always places an element of fear into the minds of England fans because of one game that took place almost 40 years ago. England will be hoping to avoid a repeat of their infamous World Cup qualifier against the Poles back in 1973, when a shot slipped beneath goalkeeper Peter Shilton into the net, and England could only manage one goal in reply. That 1-1 draw saw England missing out on the 1974 World Cup Finals in West Germany.