Montenegro set sights on Group G grand slam

LONDON - Montenegro have the chance to complete a Group G grand slam few could have imagined when they face England at Wembley in Euro 2012 qualifying on Tuesday, having already made a mockery of their lowly seeding.

If the surprise package of the qualifiers defeat England, seeded top in Group G, it will be their fourth successive win after 1-0 victories over Wales, Bulgaria and Switzerland -- the fourth, third and second seeds.

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Montenegro only became UEFA members in 2007 and were in the fifth seeding pot in February's draw.

Something will have to give at Wembley, with England also defending a hundred percent record.

England appear to have put their woeful World Cup behind them following a 4-0 win over Bulgaria and a 3-1 success in Switzerland and will be hoping Wayne Rooney re-discovers his goalscoring form at Wembley.

Not only has he scored just twice for United and once for England this season, he has also been affected by off-field personal problems and injury.

Rooney, 24, who hopes to win his 68th England cap if fit, told reporters: "In the last two games we seem to have got the shape right and we have started the qualifying campaign well.

"But everybody expects us to do better and the players also expect better performances and results. We need to work out how we can do better than we did in the World Cup. We know we weren't good enough."

With Jermain Defoe injured, Rooney is likely to partner the in-form Darren Bent in attack, though England manager Fabio Capello could also start with Peter Crouch or pull a surprise and give 33-year-old Kevin Davies his international debut.

Whoever starts up front, England need a high tempo approach early on to undermine the Montenegrins' self-confidence, boosted by them being top of the standings.

In defence, Rio Ferdinand is almost certain to return for the first time since his injury before the World Cup. Joleon Lescott is his likely partner at centre-back after John Terry was forced to pull out with a back injury on Sunday.

Capello will also decide whether to restore the captaincy to Ferdinand or keep Steven Gerrard in the role.


While England will be under pressure to win well at home, Montenegro arrive at Wembley for the first senior meeting between the countries under relatively little pressure, as they enjoy their best spell since achieving soccer independence.

Mirko Vucinic will be the main danger man for Croatian coach Zlatko Kranjcar, who could get some insight into the England players from his son Niko who plays for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.

Before leaving for London he told media: "England are the favourites to wi