Moldova v England: key battles
12:30 07 September 2012
PA Wire/Press Association Images
England start their World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign against Moldova tonight at the Zimbru Stadium, Chisinau, and here is where it could be won and lost.
John Terry v Igor Picusceac
Picusceac is expected to lead the line for Moldova having started their last three friendly matches against Angola, El Salvador and Venezuela. Despite not scoring in any of these matches, coach Ion Caras looks set to stick with the frontman. He will face Terry at the heart of England’s defence - and the chances of the Moldovan breaking his goal drought look slim.
Steven Gerrard v Serghei Covalciuc
Named England captain by Roy Hodgson when he took over the national side, the influential Gerrard will come up against Covalciuc in the midfield battle. The Moldovan currently plays in Kazakhstan with FC Aktobe but spent six seasons at Russian side Spartak Moscow, helping them secure runners-up spot in the Premier League three times and a place in the Champions League.
Jermain Defoe v Petru Racu
England forward Defoe will be hoping to have a field day in front of the Moldova goal, but one man ready to stand in his way is imposing defender Racu. The 25-year-old has steadily converted from a striker, to a midfielder, and then to centre-back as he hopped across Scandinavia during spells with Norrkoping, MyPA and most recently Danish side Hjorring, but is now a free agent.