Bottom of Group G hosts joint-top at the Cardiff City Stadium tonight but there is reason to believe that Wales will defy the form book, in doing so boosting England’s chances of finishing first….
Montenegro’s achievement in challenging England for top spot in Group G having started proceedings as the lowest seeds shouldn’t be underestimated, but they have assumed that position by doing the bare minimum.
Each of the three wins with which they opened the campaign came by the same 1-0 scoreline, and though they remain unbeaten, the recent draws against England and at home to Bulgaria, indicate that their momentum is dwindling.
That gradual decline in form has also been visible in friendly action, a 3-2 defeat to Albania marking their worst result defensively in close to two years.
For Wales, things can’t get much worse as they sit pointless after four fixtures, slumped below Faroe Islands in the world rankings, however a recent victory over Northern Ireland and narrow friendly loss to Australia hint that they are on the up.
As Wales only lost 1-0 in Podgorica, it is arguable that the draw at 23/10 appeals more than the visitors at 5/4. Gary Speed’s men are 11/5 to triumph.
As a feature of every Montenegro qualifiers, under 2.5 goals is justifiably favoured at 4/7, though with the co-leaders leaking four in two games and Wales netting in their last three, both teams to score is intriguing too at 11/10, with a 1-1 draw 11/2.
The man who did the damage last year, new Juventus forward Mirko Vucinic, is the 5/1 favourite to strike first, yet long-term injury victim Stevan Jovetic will be keen at 6/1 to show that his national side can become even stronger with him involved.
Those looking for a Welsh star to break the deadlock should perhaps consider captain Aaron Ramsey at 8/1.