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Can England live up to their lofty FIFA ranking?

That England are fourth in the FIFA world rankings and Brazil are languishing in 18th, below the likes of Switzerland and Ecuador, says more about the failings of the curious FIFA ranking system as it does about the respective talents of the two sides.

A resounding win against San Marino is not any great cause for excitement and over optimism that Roy Hodgson's men have what it takes to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, let alone win it.

Yet, to be officially ranked as one of the world's top four nations - ahead of the likes of Italy, Portugal, Brazil, Holland and France - and not just the eight goals but an impressive display in Friday night's warm up for a more important assignment, England can have good reason to feel confident ahead of Tuesday's Group H qualifier in Montenegro.

We're at the half way stage of the qualifying campaign and England are well placed, just two points behind group leaders Montenegro and six ahead of Ukraine and Poland.

So, a win at the Podgorica City Stadium would be enough to guarantee top spot prior to a break of more than five months before the campaign continues with a home fixture against lowly Moldova on September 6 and a tricky test in Ukraine four days later.

It's by no means an easy group for England, but an encouraging state of affairs nevertheless.

Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard, Danny Welbeck, Ashley Cole and Michael Carrick all start for England as Hodgson makes six changes to the side that beat San Marino.

'I trust them'

Hodgson says he is happy with centre back pairing Joleon Lescott and Chris Smalling.

"I trust them," he said. "They'll do well. In Joleon Lescott we have a man who helped Manchester City to a first Premier League title in 40-odd years and Chris Smalling is playing regularly for the champions-elect.

The England manager added: "I have no concerns and there will be no sleep lost in that position and Steven Taylor and Steven Caulker could come in and do the job as well."

Hodgson's men will take nothing for granted on Tuesday night. No international side has won in Montenegro's capital for 16 months - and England's 2-2 draw in Podgorica, in a match that saw Wayne Rooney shown a red card, is still fresh in the memory.

That game saw England qualify for Euro 2012 - and was something of a baptism of fire for Branko Brnovic in his first game in charge of Montenegro.

His side lost their next three games, but Brnovic has turned the Brave Falcons into something of a goalscoring machine. They have scored 13 and conceded just two in their five qualifying games so far, which have produced four wins and a draw, and have bagged 11 in their last four fixtures.

Partizan Belgrade defender Vladimir Volkov is a rising star in the Montenegro line-up, while former Manchester City man Stefan Savic and Lille defender Marko Basa are likely to form a central defensive partnership that will look to lock out Rooney and co.

Veteran midfielder Milorad Pekovic is missing after his red card in Friday's 1-0 win in Moldova. Serie A duo Stevan Jovetic and Mirko Vucinic (pictured) - who has helped Juventus reach the Champions League quarter-finals this season - are expected to lead the attack in a 4-4-2 formation.

England's remaining World Cup qualifiers:

26 March: A v Montenegro

6 September: H v Moldova

10 September: A v Ukraine

11 October: H v Montenegro

15 October: H v Poland


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