It's just like playing Brazil! Hodgson warns England not to be 'foolish' against Moldova
18:26 GMT, 3 September 2012
Roy Hodgson has told his players they cannot afford to be complacent as they take on minnows Moldova in Friday's 2014 World Cup qualifier.
Moldova will be most familiar to England's players and fans from the World Cup qualifiers the countries played in 1996.
Those saw the Three Lions rack up easy 3-0 and 4-0 wins but Hodgson was so determined for his players not to take Friday's match lightly that he will order them to imagine they were playing Brazil.
Careful now: Roy Hodgson has warned his charges against complacency
He said: 'I know that outside of our little group who are preparing for the game, there will be a lot of thought that Moldova are not very special, not very strong, but we certainly don't go into the game with that thought at all.
'We go into the game knowing they had a draw and a narrow defeat against Holland in the last qualifying campaign.
'If we are not aware of the fact that this is a major hurdle of the 10 hurdles we have to jump over then we would be very, very foolish.
Hurdle: Hodgson says England will not get an easy ride
'And, certainly, my message to the
players is that, “I don't care if they are called Moldova. As far as I'm
concerned, they could be called Brazil and we have to produce a
performance to win us the game”.
'And if it turns out that perhaps they are not that good after all then I will be very happy.
'But I'm expecting them to be good and certainly watching the Moldova v Albania game then they know how to play football.'
Get ready: Hodgson instructs Gary Cahill and Frank Lampard
That Albania match was Moldova's most recent, a 0-0 friendly draw last month.
Hodgson added: 'They are like a lot of those teams – they are in that area to the side of Romania, close to Georgia and those parts of the old Soviet Union.
'They are technical players, players who are basically unknown outside of eastern Europe.
'Very few, if any of them, play in Moldova – they play in Russia or Ukraine and in quite good teams.
Research: Lampard and Co will watch videos of their opponents
'So they are obviously highly-respected players but, of course, for us they are going to be pretty much unknown and we are doing as much research and as much video-watching as we can to get some sort of handle to what they will be like.
'We have to come to terms with what's the stadium going to be like, what's the atmosphere going to be like, what's the pitch going to be like – and how good are these players and relate that to the players we choose and make sure they go into the game with the best possible preparation.'