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Failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup would be disastrous for England’s reputation and Hodgson’s long-term prospects. But if England were to lose tonight, that grim prospect would become distinctly more realistic. Sadly, they’ll go into the game without Jack Wilshere, whose midfield partnership with Tom Cleverley looked so promising in the friendly victory over Brazil. A nervily fascinating prospect – one senses that, by the time Brazil 2014 comes around, England might just be a half-decent side. Whether they’ll give themselves the chance to prove it on the biggest stage could depend on tonight.