Montenegro defender Stefan Savic says his team do not deserve to go to the FIFA World Cup™ if they fail to win their Group H qualifier in Moldova tomorrow night. The Montenegrins head into the match in Chisinau leading the group by two points from England and know nothing less than three points are likely keep them on top with Roy Hodgson's men facing San Marino, the world's joint lowest ranked team, in Serravalle.
Tomorrow's matches precede the bigger contest to come for both Montenegro and England next Tuesday, when the pacesetters meet in Podgorica for an encounter that will go a long way to deciding who tops the group come October.
Former Manchester City defender Savic is refusing to take Moldova lightly despite Montenegro being ranked 103 places higher on FIFA's list, but concedes the match is one that must be won if reaching Brazil in 2014 is to remain a realistic goal. "If we can not beat Moldova, maybe we do not deserve to go to the World Cup," said Savic. "We need to go out there and take the points."
However, the Fiorentina player added: "This is a dangerous situation, we need to rise to it. The important thing is that we are aware it will not be easy. We have to stay concentrated. Maybe the hosts will not have a lot of attacks, but we must be ready at all times."
With snow in the forecast, it could prove to be a taxing 90 minutes for Montenegro tomorrow night, and goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic is not underestimating the psychological value of a win ahead of England's visit next week. "We are taking the upcoming match even more seriously than England, because we are aware that victory over Moldova will give us a lift," he said."With three points, we would welcome England full of confidence and ready to fight like lions."
England have been hit by a raft of defensive withdrawals ahead of their trip to San Marino. On Tuesday, Chelsea's Gary Cahill joined Tottenham's Michael Dawson and Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United in withdrawing due to injury issues, with Newcastle's Steven Taylor, Steven Caulker of Spurs and Manchester City's Joleon Lescott drafted in as replacements.
With United's Chris Smalling the only other recognised centre-back in the squad, it represents a rather inexperienced pool at Hodgson's disposal, although Cahill will be reassessed before the Montenegro game.
Both sides have played a game fewer than the other teams in the group but have just one win between them to show for their efforts. Poland have won one and drawn two of their three matches so far, while Ukraine have two draws and one defeat from the same number of matches and sit second-bottom.