|(World Cup qualifiers) England prepare for Ukraine danger men
England captain Steven Gerrard says he and his team-mates are expecting a flying start from Ukraine when the teams tussle today in a pivotal football World Cup qualifier in Kiev.
While England are seeking a win that would send them three points clear at the top of European qualifying Group H with two games to play, Ukraine also know that victory would catapult them to the top of the pool.
The sides have met twice in the last 15 months, with England winning 1-0 in a group-stage match in Donetsk at Euro 2012 before snatching a late 1-1 draw at Wembley last September.
“Having watched quite a bit of Ukraine and played against them a couple of times, I think they won't change,'' Gerrard said
“They put a lot of energy into the first half an hour of every game they play. They press high and use a lot of energy up, so I'm sure it'll be the same.
“It's important we defend well in the early stages and I think the longer the game goes on, the better chance we've got of getting the win.''
Gerrard highlighted wingers Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka as Ukraine's danger men and said the configuration of Mykhaylo Fomenko's side gave them no option but to take the game to England.
He believes England need to “take the game to the opposition.’’
Gerrard believes that a strong start will have the added bonus of enabling the visitors to quieten the crowd at the Olympic Stadium, which was the scene of England's penalty shootout loss to Italy in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.
England manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed that midfielder Frank Lampard will win his 100th cap as a starting player and says he will keep the same team from Friday's 4-0 win over Moldova, minus the suspended Danny Welbeck.