England will qualify for Euro 2020 if they can pick up a result against Group A strugglers Montenegro on Thursday.
The Three Lions need just one point from their remaining two matches to seal a place in next summer’s European Championships.
For Montenegro, Gareth Southgate’s side presents their final match of these qualification stages. However, whichever way this result swings, the Brave Falcons will not make an appearance in the international competition next year.
Read on for England vs Montenegro preview, predictions, team news, TV info and more.
When is England vs Montenegro and what TV channel is it on?
Competition: Euro 2020 qualifiers
Venue: Wembley Stadium
Date: Thursday, 14 November 2019
Kick-off: 7:45 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): ITV 1
Last five meetings: England vs Montenegro
25 Mar 2019: Montenegro 1-5 England (Euro 2020 qualifier)
11 Oct 2013: England 4-1 Montenegro (World Cup 2014 qualifier)
26 Mar 2013: Montenegro 1-1 England (World Cup 2014 qualifier)
07 Oct 2011: Montenegro 2-2 England (Euro 2012 qualifier)
12 Oct 2010: England 0-0 Montenegro (Euro 2012 qualifier)
Aggregate Score: England (WWDDD) 12-5 Montenegro (LLDDD)
Ones to watch
England: Marcus Rashford
It has been difficult at times for the 22-year-old Manchester United marksman this season, having netted just one goal in 12 appearances for club and country between late August and early October, but he is now in the midst of an insatiable purple patch that could greatly benefit the Three Lions.
As it stands, Rashford has scored seven goals in eight games for both the Red Devils and England, including in the previous Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria as well as the last two games for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men. Southgate will be hoping this fine form stretches over to next summer.
Key stat: Rashford has scored six Premier League goals this season, more than any other Manchester United player.
Montenegro: Nikola Vukcevic
Vukcevic is no stranger to coming up against big-name players having recently played a role in Levante’s historic 3-1 victory over La Liga giants Barcelona. The 27-year-old defensive midfielder will offer plenty of bite and aggression in the middle of the park on Thursday.
His job will be to quell to threat of England’s attacking players, a role he regularly functions for the Frogs in the Spanish top-flight. He may not be the most technically gifted of midfielders, but the Montenegrin’s tenacity and defensive qualities will certainly give Rashford and Co plenty of food for thought.
Key stat: Nikola Vukcevic has made the third-most tackles per 90 minutes of any Levante player in La Liga this season (4.4).
The big news centres on Raheem Sterling, who will play no part in the upcoming game due to “a disturbance in a private team area” between him and Joe Gomez. The tension was caused by an altercation between the Manchester City and Liverpool players toward the end of Sunday’s game at Anfield.
The foremost candidate to take his place appears to be Jadon Sancho, who was embarrassed on Saturday when Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre substituted him 36 minutes into the 4-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.
Both John Stones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have made their way back into the international fold, while James Maddison, who was recently embroiled in his own controversy following his withdrawal from the England squad during the last international break, has been handed a second chance by Southgate.
The Leicester City talisman pulled out of the England squad due to illness last month and was soon spotted at a casino during the Three Lions’ 2-1 defeat to the Czech Republic, sparking major backlash.
Maguire says England have moved on from Sterling-Gomez row
That said, his club form with the Foxes has been hard to ignore, having fired Brendan Rodgers’ men to second in the Premier Leagues table after seeing off Arsenal on Saturday.
Elsewhere, Kyle Walker has not done enough to warrant a recall in the eyes of Southgate, which is also the case for Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli, while Michael Keane has dropped out.
There are call-ups for the uncapped Fikayo Tomori, as well as Chelsea teammates Callum Hudson-Odoi, Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount.
Ross Barkley, Fabian Delph and Tom Heaton also recently pulled out because of injury, leading Southgate to call up Sheffield United ‘keeper Dean Henderson.
Predicted XI: Pickford; Alexander-Arnold, Maguire, Mings, Chilwell; Henderson, Winks, Mount; Rashford, Sancho, Kane.
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Montenegro remain without record goalscorer Stevan Jovetic, who is still recovering from a cruciate ligament rupture which occurred back in April, while fellow ex-Man City man Stefan Savic is also out.
Head coach Faruk Hadzibegic has also dropped Andrija Dragojevic, Nebojsa Kosovic and Luka Mirkovic following last month’s defeat to Kosovo.
First-choice right-back Adam Marusic recently pulled out of the squad for this international break due to a thigh strain, as did Partizan midfielder Aleksandar Šćekic
Predicted XI: Petkovic; Raspopovic, Simic, Lagator, Bulatovic; Jovovic, Vukcevic, Hocko, Boljevic, Vesovic; Mugosa.
England should have little trouble getting the job done on home turf and celebrating qualification to Euro 2020. They have dominated Group A, bar last month’s Czech Republic slip-up, and have shown in their previous encounter with Montenegro – a 5-1 thrashing – that they possess far too much quality for Hadzibegic’s men.
Scoreline prediction: England 4-0 Montenegro