Date: Tuesday, October 15 Venue: Wembley Stadium Kick-Off: 20:00 Can England get the win they need against Poland to guarantee a place at next summer's World Cup?
England will be without first choice right-back Glen Johnson and back-up Kyle Walker for tonight's final group game against Poland at Wembley Stadium. The latter picked up a yellow card against Montenegro and is suspended while Johnson remains injured. Manchester United's Phil Jones or Chris Smalling will likely deputise, while Andros Townsend is expected to retain his place in midfield. Poland will be without suspended centre-back Lukasz Szukala. However, right-back Piotr Celeban is set to start, with Artur Jedrzejczyk switching to central defence. Midfielder Adrian Mierzejewski is in contention, but Matesuz Klich is out. (Sky Sports)
Wayne Rooney has netted six goals in his last five World Cup qualifiers. England have conceded just one goal in their last three World Cup qualifiers. Waldemar Fornalik's Poland have won just one of their last seven internationals on the road (D2 L4). Polish striker Robert Lewandowski was the second-highest goalscorer in last season's Champions League, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo.
England play host to Poland in their final World Cup qualifier tonight knowing anything less than three points will likely condemn them to the play-offs. Group H is finely in the balance with the Three Lions leading the table on 19 points, but with Ukraine shadowing them with a tally of 18, and a game against pointless San Marino to prepare for, a win here is essential. The country's media have this week highlighted that the omens aren't exactly great for Roy Hodgson's men. This weekend marks the 40th anniversary since Poland knocked Sir Alf Ramsey's Lions out of the qualifiers for the 1974 competition, and an unprecedented 20,000 fans will be cheering on the opposition in the away end. Since 1973, however, England have played Poland 15 times and are undefeated in that period, collecting nine wins. The Three Lions will be further encouraged that a repeat scenario of elimination is not on the cards, with second place already secured, meaning the play-offs is the worst-case scenario. For eliminated Poland, they have nothing to play for but pride, but will want to end their qualifying campaign on a high note at least. They also have Robert Lewandowski up front, who, while admittedly hasn't been prolific on the international scene, was the Champions League's second-highest scorer last season, and will always pose a threat.
Joseph is an accredited football journalist and has interviewed nearly all of the current 20 Barclay's Premier League managers. He is also a correspondent for Bleacher Report and has written for Caught Offside and Give Me Football.