Baines: We Can Finish The Job
Left-back confident England can secure World Cup qualification.
Leighton Baines is confident England can beat Montenegro later this week and take a huge step towards qualification for the 2014 World Cup.
With two matches to play, the Three Lions lead Group H by one point – but Ukraine, Poland and Friday’s opponents all still harbour hopes of reaching Brazil.
England can start making plans for next summer if they claim a victory over Montenegro and follow it up with another three points against Poland on Tuesday.
On the contrary, a draw or defeat would leave the group wide open. A second-place finish would mean England face a two-legged play-off in November. Third spot and all hopes of progression are extinguished.
However, Baines – an almost certain starter against Montenegro in Ashley Cole’s absence - is refusing to contemplate the worst-case scenario.
“They are massive games for us,” he told evertontv. “Hopefully we can focus on the first one, get the job done and get a win.
“They are big games but it’s in our hands. If we win the games – which we are capable of – then we stay top of the group and qualify.
“We know what job is needed to be done and hopefully we can go and do it.”
In the corresponding fixtures away from home, England were held to 1-1 draws on the continent in Montenegro and Poland.
Both matches saw Roy Hodgson’s side take the lead through early Wayne Rooney goals before they were pegged back with second-half equalisers.
Montenegro also held England to a goalless stalemate when they last visited Wembley in October 2011 for a Euro 2012 qualifier – a sure sign that they will be no pushovers this Friday.
Baines added: “I think they [Montenegro] have been strong in the past and have been a tough opponent for us in recent years. It’s wide open in the sense that there are so many teams in the group that will still be aiming to qualify.
“It will be exciting for everyone watching but we want to get the results in the first game and results will go our way.
“It was a tough game when we played them in Poland last time. The conditions were crazy and, if you remember, the game got put back a day because it was so wet.
“I was really impressed with Poland on that night and we got a point in the end which was good because they were in top form and they have got some really top players throughout the side.”
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