England celebrate their 1000th international fixture in style as they welcome Montenegro to Wembley Stadium, knowing that a win will secure qualification for Euro 2020 next summer.
The Three Lions however can qualify with at least a point if Kosovo were to fail to win in the Czech Republic, otherwise defeat coupled with a Kosovo win would set up a dramatic showdown on Sunday in Pristina, Kosovo.
Team newsEmbed from Getty Images
England will be without Raheem Sterling as he serves an internally imposed one match ban following a clash with Joe Gomez on Monday.
Sterling therefore joins captain, Jordan Henderson on the sidelines as the Liverpool midfielder serves an one match ban, having collected his third yellow card of the qualifying stage against Bulgaria last month.
Ross Barkley (ankle), Fabian Delph (hamstring) and Tom Heaton (calf) have been ruled out and released back to their clubs, with Dean Henderson the only replacement called up.
Montenegro will be without Adam Marusic and Aleksandar Scekic due to undisclosed injuries.
Captain, Stefan Savic wasn’t called up after failing to overcome a hamstring injury.
- England have never lost to Montenegro in five previous competitive qualifiers, of which three took place ahead of two Euro Finals (2012 & 20) (W2, D3).
- At home, England have kept just one clean sheet against Montenegro which came in their first ever meeting in October 2010 in a goalless draw, before winning 4-1 in October 2013.
- England previously won on their 100th and 250th matches of which both took place against Wales in 1909 (home) then 1949 (away) respectively, although they did lose their 500th match against Brazil in 1976 in a special (unofficial) USA Bicentennial Tournament.
With such a huge match like this in which a country celebrates a landmark achievement whilst trying to seal qualification on home soil, it can be quite easy to get caught up in the emotions so this will be a huge test for England’s youngsters.
I however am expecting a strong performance against a Montenegro team who have nothing to play for, although they could experiment which might pose one or two challenges early on.
England however should come through with a comfortable win if they can quickly get on top and avoid a difficult trip to Kosovo on Sunday with qualification already secured.
Prediction: England 3-0 Montenegro
Result: England 7-0 Montenegro