With Euro 2012 all done and dusted and the new 2012-13 season underway, England’s players will be starting to look towards the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The Three Lions start their World Cup qualifying campaign in September against Moldova, with the side’s first home match against Ukraine at Wembley on September 11th.
Roy Hodgson has stated that he has a long-term plan in place to have England compete for glory in South America in two years time, with the qualification campaign the breeding ground for the team of 2014. England have been drawn in Group H of qualifying, with their opponents all based in eastern Europe. Moldova, Ukraine, Poland, Montenegro and San Marino will all look to claim the scalp of their illustrious opponents, and good results at home will be important for the Three Lions.
Ukraine will be one of the more difficult opponents in the pool, and the sides will know each other well after going head-to-head at Euro 2012. A solitary Wayne Rooney header sent Hodgson’s men through to the quarter-finals at the expense of the Ukrainians, and the nation will hope for a similar outcome in September.
Both teams are facing slight transition, with Hodgson breeding younger talents such as Tom Cleverley and bringing back seasoned campaigners like Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick in a recent 2-1 friendly victory over Italy. Ukraine meanwhile say goodbye to cult figure Andrei Shevchenko, who retired from the game after the recent European championships.
You can buy tickets for England v Ukraine from TheFA.com/tickets.