The stakes will be high in Kiev as Group H leaders England look to edge further ahead of the third-placed Ukraine.
Both teams are separated by just one point though, with Montenegro behind Hodgson's men only on goal difference.
And with just one side automatically qualifying for the 2014 event in Brazil from the pool, a poor result for England could see them slip to third.
Hodgson said on Monday: "Ukraine are a good team and both them and us are capable of winning the group so it's a bit of a cup final.
"When you play in a cup final you have to play well enough to win the game.
"It's a critical fixture in the group and the team that wins the game will have a great chance to qualify.
"For the team that loses they will have their backs against the wall and the chance of winning the group would be out of their hands."
Hodgson hinted at his team taking the game to Ukraine despite the absence of the suspended Danny Welbeck, who scored twice in Friday's 4-0 win over Moldova.
"You do not win games by being cautious, sometimes you win it by going on the front foot," he said.
"We do not have any qualms about the task ahead of us and we are really aware of what we need to do to get a result."
Hodgson added that he would make just one change to the side that cruised past Moldova, with that being Welbeck's replacement. Manchester City midfielder James Milner is expected to fill the void.
The game will be notable for Frank Lampard's 100th cap for England, and captain Steven Gerrard paid tribute to the Chelsea midfielder.
"It's going to be a fantastic occasion for Frank and I'm delighted for him to get 100 caps," Gerrard said.
"Hopefully we will all remember it for the right result. I lost on the night of my 100th cap - hopefully Frank can have the right memories."
Gerrard believes England will be fine despite the absence of Wayne Rooney, who has a head injury, while he feels his side's defence will be crucial.
"Obviously Wayne is a world-class player, but we have got more than enough to do the job," the 33-year-old added.
"We believe if we defend well we will get the result we want. The plan is to win, but if the game is a draw it's a better result for England than Ukraine. The pressure is on them to take the game to us."
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