Montenegro's attacking pair have the skills to spoil the visitors' trip to raucous Podgorica on Tuesday evening
Deemed a "hot" destination for 2013, Montenegro is said to be on the fast-track to tourism superstardom and its football team is not doing too badly either. The world's newest international side may be based in a tiny country roughly two-thirds the size of Wales with a population of around 625,000 – about the same as Sheffield and Rotherham combined – but, so far, Montenegro are making light work of the arduous road to Brazil and the 2014 World Cup finals.
On Friday night they beat Moldova 1-0 in Chisinau despite having Milorad Pekovic sent off after 61 minutes with the score goalless. The Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic volleyed home the only goal of the game to keep Montenegro two points ahead of England at the halfway stage of the road to Brazil.
While most visitors land in Podgorica ready to be bewitched by beguiling Adriatic bays, rugged, canyon-filled, mountainous interiors and historic walled towns, England will arrive for Tuesday night's qualifier in suitably wary mood.
As travelling fans limber up for the game by visiting the coastal haunts which, back in the 1960s, served as a playground for Princess Margaret, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Roy Hodgson is likely to be in contemplative mood. England's coach will presumably think long and hard before deciding on his best available central defensive partnership to mark Vucinic and Stevan Jovetic, Montenegro's outstanding attacking pairing.
At 29, Vucinic is the established senior partner while Fiorentina's Jovetic, six years his junior, is expected to provoke a £20m bidding war this summer. Arsenal, where Arsène Wenger is a particular admirer, are reportedly the favourites to sign him but Manchester City and Juventus also remain keen on a forward dubbed "the new Roberto Baggio".
Although Jovetic prefers to operate in the hole, behind a principal striker, his is a fluid, elusive, positionally versatile game and he appears comfortable anywhere along the frontline.
"Stevan and I play close together in the national side and we often switch positions," says Vucinic, who is trying to persuade a team-mate who has spent hours studying videos of his hero Andriy Shevchenko's movement to opt for Juventus rather than the Premier League. Vucinic might himself have headed to the Emirates Stadium two years ago but instead opted to swap Roma for Juventus. "I like Turin," he says. "I have no desire to live in England."
Not that he underestimates Hodgson's team. "There isn't a greater motivator than playing England," says the player who has been Montenegro's talisman since independence from Serbia was achieved in 2006. "But we are not scared of anybody. We weren't afraid of anybody when we were at war so why would we be afraid now?"
Branko Brnovic's technically assured squad - aka the Brave Falcons - grew up with the often bloody dissolution of the former Yugoslavia serving as stark backdrops to their childhoods. "We have a fighting spirit in our genes," says Brnovic, whose team lead Group H with 13 points after beating San Marino twice, drawing at home to Poland and winning in Ukraine and Moldova.
Invariably well organised, they drew twice with England during qualifying for Euro 2012. Montenegro finished second in the group but missed out on the finals in Poland and Ukraine after losing a play-off to the Czech Republic.
Brnovic, though, knows that, when it comes to outwitting Hodgson, he is heavily reliant on a pair of penalty-area specialists. "England will know all about the qualities of my two forwards," he said. "Everyone, in my teams plays better if Mirko, especially, is at his best level."
The task of subduing Wayne Rooney and friends will fall to a defence generally dominated by Marko Basa, the towering, aerially dominant, tough-tackling Lille centre-half.
"I'm not surprised by Montenegro's rise," says Basa. "Our players have a lot of experience, we've got big names from big clubs and we are going to fight to reach the World Cup finals. Getting to Brazil next year would be a dream, especially for a country like ours with such a tiny population. We are not rated as highly as some of the other countries from the former Yugoslavia but we have no inferiority complex."
Unfortunately for England, Rooney still seems to retain the odd inner demon of the sort that surfaced when he was sent off for a wild lunge at Montenegro defender Miodrag Dzudovic on his last visit to Podgorica and ended up sitting out the first two fixtures of Euro 2012.
Hodgson will warn his players, Rooney included, to resist succumbing to any provocation from some of Europe's most fiercely passionate and partisan fans but England face two far bigger problems. They are called Vucinic and Jovetic.
Montenegro has long been an exporter of footballing talents:
Dejan Savicevic: Now president of the Montenegrin football federation,was a key member of Fabio Capello's Milan 1994 European Cup winners and is best remembered for his outrageous 35-yard half-lob to put the game beyond Barcelona's reach.
Miljan Miljanic: The former Red Star Belgrade coach went on to manage Real Madrid and learned the game travelling England in a van in which he slept, eating only from the cans of food he had packed in his suitcase before leaving.
Ante Mirocevic: Sheffield Wednesday's record signing when they bought him from FK Buducnost in 1980. "I loved the pubs," he said. "Lager and lime with a whisky chaser. I'd drink 10, 20 a night and then we'd train the next day. That's what England taught me, how to drink and play."