England could take a huge step towards qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup by taking all three points on their extended trip to rainy Poland (4pm BST, Wednesday, October 17).
Despite there being a roof on the Warsaw stadium, it was farcically never used and the game was drowned out at its first attempt on Tuesday night. That fiasco prompted the game’s postponement for 20 hours to this new afternoon slot.
After putting five past a San Marino that resembled a non-league outfit, England will have to be sharper and more clinical if they are to beat one of their biggest threats in Group H.
This is probably Roy Hodgson’s most important fixture as England boss after the failures of Euro 2012 and the draw at home to Ukraine last month. Despite England’s poor showing at Euro 2012, Hodgson was in charge of an under-strength and unfancied side. This England side has his blue-print on it and anything less than a top of the table finish will leave Hodgson in trouble.
England have only lost to Poland once in their history, in 1973, out of the 10 matches the two countries have played. In their last seven head-to-heads, England have won six and drawn once, a statistic that will leave England fans more than quietly confident.
What will surprise many England fans is the amount of changes that are likely to take place from the side that thrashed lowly San Marino. One would have thought that consistency would lead to a better performance but Hodgson was cautious with any players than could have potentially missed the Poland clash through a suspension.
Steven Gerrard will once again captain England in his return to the side. He and Ashley Cole will feature in their 99th international appearances. Gerrard was suspended against San Marino after his yellow card against Ukraine, while Ashley Cole was rested. This will be Cole’s first match since his tweeting tirade against the FA and his fellow full-back Glen Johnson is also likely to start. Joleon Lescott, James Milner and Jermaine Defoe were rested on Friday due to being one yellow card from suspension, but after Danny Welbeck’s assured two goal performance he may well once again partner Wayne Rooney up front.
Poland are in dire need of not only a win but a decent performance after failing to impress for the last few months. In front of their home fans at Euro 2012 they put in three under-par showings and as a result failed to reach the quarter-finals from the easiest of the groups.
Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski is their star player. He is well known to Joe Hart and the remainder of the Man City contingent after the threat he provided in their Champions League match last week.
Poland v England Betting Tips Verdict
Since Euro 2012, Poland have beaten Moldova and drawn with Montenegro in their only two competitive fixtures. Those four points leave Poland three points behind England with a game in hand.
While England (evens to win with Ladbrokes, William Hill & Stan James) brushed aside a very poor Moldova side 5-0, Poland (biggest @ 7/2 with Stan James to win this) struggled to beat the same opposition 2-0. The draw is biggest at 22/9 with Pinnacle.