Montenegro captain Mirko Vucinic stated that the match against Ukraine will be the hardest for his country since independence -- a fitting statement, as the qualifier is Montenegro's 50th competitive match since declaring independence in 2006. Although this is only their second attempt at World Cup qualification, Montenegro lead Group H with two points more than England. A win won't guarantee a trip to Brazil, but it would certainly keep the Montenegrin dreams soaring high.
However, they've got a tough opponent to face in Podgorica. Ukraine has played one game less, and a win could move them into third, three points behind with a game in hand. Ukraine had a slow start to qualifying, first drawing with England, then against Moldova. Then came the first match against Montenegro, in which the visitors won 1-0, thanks to a goal from Dejan Damjanović. Since that loss, Ukraine beat Poland 3-1 and Moldova 2-1. Ukraine are flying high, and they have every reason to try for all three points on Friday evening.
Despite their strong standing in Group H, Montenegro might be feeling a bit fragile. The side has a long injury list to contend with, including injuries to Simon Vukčević, Mitar Novaković, Miodrag Džudović and Stefan Savic, all starters against England. But Montenegro were impressive in that last match, taking England to task after the break. Both Vucinic and Stevan Jovetic were both unlucky not to score, but Damjanovic came through again, grabbing his side a point in the 76th minute.
Match Date / Time: Friday, June 7 at 8:30 p.m. local, 2:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Stadion Podgorica, Podgorica, Montenegro