Moldova v England: Stats and trivia
Every football match has plenty of statistics that can turn anyone into one of the brainiest at football knowledge.
To get everyone up to speed for England’s opening World Cup qualifier against Moldova, Total Football’s Simon Wright has picked out 15 useful stats to look out for.
1. These two sides have only clashed before twice and that was in qualifying for France 98. The only time England visited Moldova was a 3-0 victory in September 1996. Nick Barmby, Paul Gascoigne and Alan Shearer scored the goals and a certain David Beckham made his international debut for the Three Lions.
2. Moldova only emerged as a footballing nation in 1991 and unsurprisingly, never qualified for the World Cup finals.
3. Since Roy Hodgson (pictured) has taken over as England manager, his side are unbeaten in normal time. Five wins and two draws with the only defeat coming on penalties to Italy in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.
4. The Moldovans have a real problem with finding the net. They have just scored just once in their last seven matches and that was against fellow European minnows San Marino.
5. If Jermain Defoe features in some form of capacity tonight, it will be the Tottenham striker’s 50th cap for England.
6. On current FIFA World rankings, Moldova are ranked 141st in the world and in competitive home matches, they have lost six of their last ten encounters.
7. England remained unbeaten throughout qualification for Euro 2012, with their last qualification defeat coming in Kiev to the Ukraine in October 2009.
8. Moldova’s highest ever position in the FIFA world rankings was 37th back in 2008 and their lowest was 149th in May 1994.
9. Every single player in Roy Hodgson’s squad currently play their football in the Premier League or the Championship. Just six of Moldova’s 23-man squad feature in the Moldovan league.
10. Moldova is currently the 48th best team in Europe. Only Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, the Faroe Islands, Andorra and San Marino are ranked lower from UEFA.
11. Since failing to qualify for Euro 2008, England’s qualification record is impressive, with 14 wins from 18 matches.
12. Since 2000, England have only lost four competitive away fixtures – Northern Ireland in September 2005, Croatia in October 2006, Russia in October 2007 and Ukraine in October 2009.
13. Moldova have not won a match or scored a goal in 2012. Their most recent three games saw them draw 0-0 with Albania, lost 2-0 to El Salvador and got thumped 4-0 by Venezuela.
14. Moldova’s biggest ever international victory was a 5-0 success against Pakistan in 1992. Their heaviest ever defeat was a 6-0 loss to Sweden in 2001.
15. Under Roy Hodgson’s management, England have kept four clean sheets in seven matches and only conceded more than one goal on one occasion, which was the dramatic 3-2 victory over Sweden in Euro 2012.
For those who prefer archive football, see these two YouTube clips which have highlights of the only two games that Moldova and England have clashed in. Plenty of goals and two resounding victories in the Glenn Hoddle days.
By Simon Wright – Follow me on Twitter @Siwri88
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