A closer look at England's World Cup qualifying opponents Montenegro

Montenegro's supporters let off flares for England's visit in March 2013. Photo: PA

England are aiming for a first win in four attempts against Montenegro on Friday, but how much do you really know about their World Cup qualifying opponents?

Here, we take a closer look at a Montenegrin side who have developed a habit of frustrating the Three Lions.

1) Montenegro did not declare independence as a nation until June 3rd 2006, six days before the 2006 World Cup started, after the referendum with Serbia resulted in a 55.5% victory for independence voters. On the same day, Peter Crouch's hat-trick wrapped up England's World Cup preparations nicely with a 6-0 win over Jamaica at Old Trafford, in what proved to be Sven-Goran Eriksson's last game in charge on home soil.

As Montenegro declared independence, Peter Crouch performed the robot. Credit: PA

2) Serbia and Montenegro had already qualified for the 2006 World Cup and continued as a united team in the finals, losing all three group stage games. One week after bowing out, Montenegro's FA applied to UEFA for a separate license which they were granted in January 2007. Serbia took up the spot previously occupied by Serbia and Montenegro, and the two began playing football as separate nations.

Serbian Sasa Illic scored the last ever goal for a united Serbia and Montenegro in the 3-2 defeat against Ivory Coast. Credit: PA

3) In March 2007, Mirko Vucinic scored Montenegro's first two goals as an independent nation, both penalties, on their international debut in a friendly against Hungary. Now leading the line for Italian champions Juventus, Vucinic is an injury doubt for Friday's qualifier at Wembley along with Man City's Stevan Jovetic. Roy Hodgson isn't convinced the pair will miss out, though: "I’ll wait until Friday night to get the team sheet before I believe Vucinic and Jovetic [are out]."

Mirko Vucinic enjoys taking his shorts off after scoring for Montenegro. Credit: UEFA.com

4) England have already played Montenegro three times having also been paired together for Euro 2012 qualifying. Each one of those games has finished all square, with the previous meeting at Wembley ending in a frustrating stalemate for England back in October 2010. Kevin Davies, Peter Crouch and Shaun Wright-Phillips featured for the Three Lions that night.

5) Ahead of their last meeting in March 2013, Montenegro's manager Branko Brnovic accused England of being a long ball team who were frightened of facing Montenegro. Brnovic also had a pop at Alan Shearer for making excuses about the pitch and advised Wayne Rooney he has plenty to learn from Jovetic and Vucinic.

6) Brnovic spent six years at Espanyol as a player from 1994, featuring in the same team as Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino. They won the Copa del Rey in his final season there.

Montenegro boss Branko Brnovic has been very critical of England in the past. Credit: PA

7) You may remember Fulham's Montenegro international Elsad Zverotic as the man who salvaged a point for Young Boys in their penultimate Europa League group stage fixture against Liverpool last year, with this stunning strike.

8) England's 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw in Montenegro, back in March 2013, was marred by violence in the stands between home fans. Fortunately for the Three Lions, the travelling supporters were tucked away at the opposite end of the stadium, and did not get involved in these ugly scenes, below.

9) Fiorentina's Stefan Savic is also likely to feature against England on Friday, the former £6m Man City defender who was sold last summer after a series of calamitous mistakes for Mancini's Premier League winners. Savic was the only player to feature in five different compeitions for Man City during his only season at the Etihad.

10) Montenegro are unbeaten in this World Cup qualifying campaign on their travels, winning three and drawing three. Branko Brnovic will take heart from an impressive 1-0 victory in Ukraine, where England labored to a goalless draw, while last month he claimed a valuable point in Poland where Roy Hodgson's side also failed to come away with three points.

Watch both England games LIVE on ITV