Phil Jagielka says England strongly believe they can secure victory in their World Cup qualifier against Montenegro on Friday -- but he expects the visitors will be every bit as confident.
With two games remaining in Group H, England are a point clear of both Ukraine and Montenegro and three ahead of Poland. Roy Hodgson's men will book their place in Brazil should they win against both Montenegro and Poland at Wembley, and Jagielka is optimistic about their chances.
“We should have got it done and dusted by now but obviously that's not the case,” he said. “But we're still looking at it from a very positive angle. The two results we need, it's in our hands, and we're looking at booking that flight to Rio.”
However, England have only secured victories over Moldova and San Marino so far in Group H, and they have yet to record a win in three meetings with Montenegro over the last three years.
The teams’ last meeting, in March, ended in a 1-1 draw, and Jagielka knows they will be tough opposition.
“I was there when we drew the game away at Montenegro -- as a team they've got a fantastic unit together,” he said. “They put us under a lot of pressure. They are progressing and they're confident as well. They're going into this game as confident as us due to the fact they've picked up draws against us before, and they're still in with a chance of trying to qualify themselves.”
Montenegro will be without captain Mirko Vucinic, goalkeeper Mladen Bozovic, centre-back Marko Basa and midfielder Miodrag Pekovic for the game, while England are missing players including Ashley Cole -- who has a rib problem -- Theo Walcott and Glen Johnson due to injury. Jagielka remains confident in the squad at Hodgson’s disposal.
“We all know the task that lies ahead,” he said. “I think there are quite a few people who've got the experience of being in similar situations before, so they've got big roles to play. We've also got some young lads with fantastic ability, so we're massively confident we can go out there and put on a good performance which can hopefully produce goals.”
Information from the Press Association was used in this report