England Italy — 12 October 2012

England host minnows San Marino at Wembley this evening in the World Cup qualifiers.

The visitors have never won a competitive game and are not expected to change that at Wembley this evening.

England will be without Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole for the clash.

The trio will be replaced by Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley and Leighton Baines. Jermain Defoe and Wayne Rooney are expected to start up front for the Three Lions, with the United striker expected to wear the captains armband in Gerrard’s absence.

Elsewhere, the Republic of Ireland hosts Germany at the Aviva Stadium. The visitors currently top the table with two wins out of two games so far. The hosts though have only played one game in the group so far, winning 2-1 in Kazakhstan.

Ireland is without record goal scorer Robbie Keane. The Irish skipper will be replaced by Stoke’s Jonathan Walters, who has been playing in more of a midfield role for the Potters this season.

Germany will have to cope without captain and full-back Philipp Lahm, who is suspended. Heiko Westermann could make his first appearance in two years in place of the Bayern star. Germany are favourites for the group so it is crucial that Ireland get something from this tough encounter.

Italy faces an arduous journey to Armenia in their Group B encounter. Cesare Prandelli’s men are expected to qualify with relative ease from the group, but have already slipped-up up in the group, drawing 2-2 in Bulgaria.

Italy is without diminutive Juve forward Sebastian Giovinco, who has an ankle ligament injury.  However, Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli returns to the squad after missing the Bulgaria and Malta games due to having laser eye surgery.

Prandelli knows that the pressure is on him his side to keep picking up victories, with the likes of Denmark and the Czech Republic looking to capitalise on any mistakes the Azzurri makes.

Can the Republic of Ireland get a result against Germany?


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David Nugent

David is a 29 year-old football fan and journalist, who is passionate about the beautiful game. He is a lifelong supporter of Premier League Everton and likes nothing better than a healthy discussion about the world's favourite sport.

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