PODGORICA - Montenegro coach
Zlatko Kranjcar was optimistic the tiny Adriatic nation
would qualify for the Euro 2012 finals despite missing a chance
to go top of qualifying Group G after a 1-1 home draw with
The result left the Montenegrins level on 11 points from
five matches with leaders England, who scraped a 2-2 draw with
Switzerland at Wembley, but behind on goal difference.
Switzerland and Bulgaria are on five points each from as
many games with Wales without a point from four matches.
"I think we are in a great position because we have stayed
clear of Bulgaria and Switzerland while we are set to continue a
neck-and-neck battle with England for the top spot," Kranjcar
told Montenegrin media after the pulsating match in Podgorica.
"A win over Wales in our next match would all but secure the
runners-up spot and even if we don't win the group, we have a
good chance of being the best second-placed team.
The nine group winners and the best second-placed team will
qualify automatically for next year's finals in Poland and
Ukraine, while the eight other runners-up will enter a two-leg
play-off for the remaining four berths.
Despite the positive position Montenegro find themselves in,
Kranjcar was slightly disappointed.
"We are not entirely happy with the result because we had
the best chances but the performance was excellent, except for
some sloppy marking when Bulgaria equalised.
"England's slip-up against Switzerland, however, has played
into our hands and I am confident we can go through because
several injured players will be back to full fitness in
September, when we resume our campaign."
Montenegro, playing in only their second major tournament as
an independent nation after winning just once in the 2010 World
Cup qualifiers, visit Wales on September 2.
They are at home to England on October 7 and visit Switzerland
in their final match four days later.
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