England head into tonight’s game with Ukraine feeling as buoyant as they have for years. The result against Moldova was a walk in the park for Roy Hodgson’s men, and tonight’s game will pose a different threat. Ukraine are a good side who can keep the ball for long periods, as demonstrated in the group encounter between the two sides in the European Championships. The question is, do they have enough to tame the Lions?
One of the main talking points prior to tonight’s game will be the injury sustained by John Terry in the Moldova game, and also the inclusion of three young players. Jake Livermore has featured at senior level before, scoring his first cap in the 2-1 friendly victory over the Azzurri. Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana have also been drafted in, both very unlikely to get onto the pitch, but Hodgson is clearly looking to the future. This can only be good for an England side sometimes tiring off in second half performances and becoming very lackadaisical, which is something they cannot afford against this Ukrainian side.
Gary Cahill has to be the happiest man in the England camp regarding the news of an injury to John Terry. They say football is a team game, and yes it is, but no player likes to warm the bench week in, week out. Not only does the injury put Cahill in the firing line for tonight, he could also get a good run in the Chelsea team. The presence Cahill has is very like John Terry and I, among many other England fans, have no doubts that he will slot in just fine.
There seems then to only be two problems for the England side tonight. The first is the fact that England have always been criticised about never performing to their top level at Wembley. Yes, Ukraine are not Brazil, but England cannot afford any moments of lost concentration or complacency. The second problem is the fact that Ukraine were cheated out of a goal against England in the Euro 2012 encounter, as we all know in football, what goes around, comes around.
Let’s just hope that come full time, the Lions are roaring and we have taken another good step to booking plane tickets to Brazil.
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