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England meet Montenegro in the European Championship qualifiers today and if I were English I’d be prepared for a shocker. That’s right I’m tipping Montenegro to beat England 2-1, and hear are the reasons why.

Montenegro are a new European country, having only recently split from Serbia for the mostly the same reasons the rest of the former Yugoslavia split from Serbia; nepotism, genocide, and bad food. With a fierce attack and well organized back field, Montenegro were able to perform well in the World Cup qualifiers going out more to bad luck and soft penalties than actual play. The 4-1 defeat to Bulgaria was not so bad as it seemed when this is taken into account, and the draw with Cyprus was more unlucky than poor. I think they’ll be up for the match today. Due to the loss of Jovetic to a serious knee injury, Kranjcar, the father of the Spurs midfielder Niko, has modified the 4-3-2-1 favoured under his predecessor Zoran Filipovic to a 4-4-1-1. Mirko Vucinic is the sole attacking figure, operating just behind the Rijeka the striker Radomir Djalovic. The Roma forward was superb against Switzerland on Friday, physically robust, imaginative, and intelligent in his play, and displayed the will to score in taking the one clear chance that came his way.

Marko Bassa, previously perceived as a weak link in the side, has improved his ball skill and self control to the point that he now be counted on to fill his role in the back four. He’s composed now, almost to a fault, and will not panic under pressure from the English side. The other players for Montenegro are honestly, a motley crew of forgettables who play for perpetual no-hopers in weak leagues. Clubs like DC United are more like the kittens of international soccer, stuck playing in the already moribund MLS, and don’t produce top class players. However, when put together, the Montenegrins represent a cohesive force, and a real threat to England.

Speaking of no-hopers, England look no better now than they did during the World Cup. Being an England fan is often equated to being the parent of said fat child at a sports day. Look for the usual problems to beset the side today. Rooney will under perform either due to his ankle injury or his recent castration at the hands of the press. Ferdinand will have little effect, and Gerrard and Lampard will be confused as they try to do the same job in the middle of the pitch. Look to the youngsters to inject some pace into the game.

All the predictions say England should win, but Montenegro are a well-balanced side with vicious attacking potential. As their coach Kranjcar pointed out, if England gives them a chance, Montengro will take it. Kranjcar is a master of these games: with both his previous side, Croatia, and Montenegro, he is unbeaten in qualifiers for major tournaments.

Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerpose.com


About the author: Matthew Wall


I've played soccer since I could walk thanks to my father and love keeping up on all the latest gear and gab. I'm in my twenties, and I'm lucky enough to have found work in search marketing for a leading soccer retailer after completing my M.A. at Georgetown in 2008. My team is Liverpool, and national side is Ireland, but I've also got a passion for GAA and a number of sports. Feel free to give me a shout on Google+


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