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Wednesday, 04 August 2021

England to treat Ukraine showdown as cup final: Hodgson

England will be missing forwards Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck due to injuries

Reuters, Tuesday 10 Sep 2013
Roy Hodgson
Roy Hodgson (Photo: Reuters)

England coach Roy Hodgson urged his players to treat Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine as a "cup final" as they chase automatic qualification for next year's tournament in Brazil.

 England face Ukraine in Kiev with a one-point lead at the top of Group H but defeat would leave their hopes of automatic qualification hanging by a thread.

 "There are two good teams in the group ... and both teams are capable of winning the group so it's a bit of a cup final," Hodgson told a news conference on Monday.

"When you play in a cup final you've got to play well enough to win the game.

"You don't win games by being cautious... we do not have any qualms about the task ahead of us and we are fully aware of what we need to do to get a result. The players are confident that they can produce that performance."

Hodgson expects to make only one change to the side that outclassed Moldova 4-0 at Wembley on Friday, with in-form striker Danny Welbeck suspended for the game.

Welbeck's absence provided a double blow for England as fellow Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney has not featured in this month's internationals due to a head injury.

However, captain Steven Gerrard was eager to point out that England were not reliant on just one or two players.

"Obviously Wayne is a world-class player but we have got more than enough to do the job. We believe if we defend well we will get the result we want," said Gerrard.

Gerrard also hoped Frank Lampard will have a night to remember as the 35-year-old Chelsea midfielder celebrates his 100th international cap in Kiev.

"It's going to be a fantastic occasion for Frank and I'm delighted for him to get 100 caps. Me and Ashley (Cole) have done that recently... and hopefully we will all remember it for the right result. I lost on the night of my 100th cap - hopefully Frank can go away with fond memories."

 The only concern for Ukraine coach Mykhaylo Fomenko, who said his men were getting ready to play "the match of their lives", is whether he will be able to call on the services of defensive midfielder Ruslan Rotan. He will undergo a fitness test on Tuesday.

 "Doctors will tell only tomorrow if we can field this player," said Fomenko who declared the rest of his squad to be "fit and prepared".

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