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Soccer-Injury-hit Montenegro must show grit at Wembley - Dzudovic

Reuters

PODGORICA, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Montenegro will miss captain Mirko Vucinic and at least three other players through injury in their 2014 World Cup qualifier in England on Friday but can still pull off an upset, defender Miodrag Dzudovic has said.

Apart from Juventus striker Vucinic, goalkeeper Mladen Bozovic, centre back Marko Basa and midfielder Miodrag Pekovic have also been ruled out while central defender Dzudovic is doubtful with a back injury and a hamstring strain.

"It seems we always head into decisive matches decimated by injuries and this is just too much bad luck with the most important game of our careers around the corner," Dzudovic told reporters in the team's training camp on Monday.

"But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. There is no doubt our coach Branko Brnovic will find the right strategy to disguise our chinks and maximise our potential at Wembley."

England, who are also at home to Poland in their final game on Oct. 15, head a delicately balanced Group H with 16 points from eight games, one more than Ukraine and Montenegro and three ahead of the Poles.

The Montenegrins, a tiny Adriatic republic in the Balkans with a population of 625,000, have earned three creditable draws in as many competitive meetings with England.

They are at home to Moldova in their final game and Dzudovic acknowledged that avoiding defeat at Wembley would put Montenegro in a good position to snatch at least a playoff berth.

"Of course we are poised to go for a win against England if given the opportunity because we can't just roll over and throw away all the good work we have done in the qualifiers so far," he said.

"The most important thing will be to keep a clean sheet and I am sure our forwards will find a way through. With the right attitude and enough self-belief, we can finish in the top two and reach the playoffs."

The nine group winners qualify automatically for the 32-nation tournament in Brazil while the eight best runners-up enter the two-legged playoffs for Europe's remaining four berths. (Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade; Editing by Alison Wildey)

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