It will perhaps be lost on the frazzled English football fraternity gathering in downtown Podgorica, especially the more nationalistic tribe of foot soldiers who drape themselves in the St George's Cross tooled up for their Great Escape, but Roy Hodgson is set fair to celebrate the 20th anniversary of leading Switzerland to the World Cup finals in the Americas by returning to that somewhat unique managerial fountain of youth with his home country.
To dock at his intended destination in Brazil next summer, just like he did at USA '94, Hodgson must prove why he was installed as England coach by ensuring the national side are not hijacked in an outpost like the Podgorica City Stadium, an epic ground of tinpot proportions, built in 1945 and barely fit for purpose.
Montenegro on their own patch and a rutted pitch in their capital city represents bandit country for teams like England.
For Hodgson, this Jose Mourinho quote illustrates what tonight is all about. "We play for a result. I'm not putting the kind of pressure on you saying we have to win, but we cannot lose. We cannot lose."
Montenegro coach Branko Brnovic has been busy spouting a lot of drivel over the past few days. He intimated that Hodgson’s England are arrogant. He claimed Hodgson’s England were long ball merchants.
Neither of which is true. Even a rabid hack from an English tabloid would toil to put the boot in like Brnovic.
Not only do statistics suggest England are far from a route one team, but in this qualifying section under Hodgson, they are apparently one of Europe’s more proficient passing sides. Only Spain, Germany and Belgium play more short passes than England. England have completed 3539 passes in this qualifying campaign. Only Spain and Germany can better them.
Of course, there are lies, damned lies and statistics. England are far from the finished article, but neither are they famished in searching for the ball. Hodgson is very much his own man, and far from egotistical. When he says England start as favourites this evening, it is because this is a fact of this fixture.
It is also balderdash to suggest the English FA are arrogant by apparently arranging friendlies against Germany and Argentina in November, a period when World Cup play-off matches are due. It is not like these games can be set up with a quick call giving 48 hours’ notice.
A win for England would catapult Hodgson’s side top of Group H. Three points would go a long way to leaving England requiring seven points from their final three games, away to Ukraine and home fixtures with Montenegro and Poland, to qualify as automatic group winners. Hodgson is not some newcomer to such permutations.
Before he began his remedial work in Zurich, Switzerland had not been to a major tournament since the 1960s. Under Hodgson, then 46, they made it to the last 16 of the World Cup in the US before touching down in England for Euro '96 where they held the hosts to a 1-1 draw at Wembley.
Hodgson had left the Swiss for Inter Milan before those finals, but not before he had guided them to back-to-back qualifications and a record high of third in the world rankings.
That was a rousing Swiss side that contained men like the Borussia Dortmund striker Stephane Chapuisat and Alain Sutter, once of Bayern Munich, who used to rampage around with a quite magnificent weave comparable to Christopher Lambert in those hoary old Highlander movies.
Hodgson is an urbane football explorer not because he is willing to travel on the London tube to reach Wembley, but because he is a real student of the game with a voracious appetite to learn. His appointment to the position of England coach came about not through his efforts over the past five years in the Premier League, but because of a classy body of work that remains unparalleled in world football.
During his formative years as a coach in Sweden, Hodgson was lauded as some sort of founding father for bringing discipline, tactical nous and a pressing style that helped to develop the modern game in the Scandinavian country.
There is no reason why England should not better themselves under Hodgson, whatever is pointed out to the contrary.
Winning the World Cup remains a tangible dream for a country the size of England. But qualifying is the immediate priority.
Hodgson was hoisted into the England job after coaching Fulham, Liverpool and West Brom.
No disrespect to Harry Redknapp, but the Croydon coach was ripe for the post because of his status in the game and the wide-ranging nature of his work away from the UK coaching unfashionable nations in Finland and the United Arab Emirates with periods of success at clubs such as Blackburn Rovers, Copenhagen and Udinese.
While Fabio Capello had a tenuous grip on the English language, Hodgson is multilingual, but the message he will try to get through to his side this evening is clear: press Montenegro in midfield, starve them of their ability to feed Mirko Vucinic of Juventus and Fiorentina's Stevan Jovetic, a forward pairing of genuine quality.
It is little wonder he is not getting overly flustered about being without John Terry as part of his central defence. The Chelsea defender did not cope overly well when England were last in Montenegro for a 2-2 draw on their way to qualifying for Euro 2012 in Capello’s last competitive fixture.
"We will maybe park a bus in defence, but we also have two Ferraris in attack,” commented Brnovic in reference to Montenegro's supposed choice of tactics.
No car can operate without fuel. England's job is to cut off the fuel supply. If England perform properly, and men like Steven Gerrard and Michael Carrick mimic club form, three points should not be such an onerous task despite all the hyperbole about Podgorica being akin to playing in a football vision of hell.
Even if the devil is playing up front for the home team, he would be rendered impotent without possession of the football.
It may be hot and hectic or it may be cold and damp. It may be both, but the elements should not dissuade this England side from assuming control of Group H.
Hodgson’s appointment was made for nights like this. He should be in his element. Over to you, Roy.
If England think they have problems in Montenegro, they should content themselves with the knowledge they are not Scotland. Just when one thinks the Scotland national team cannot slip deeper into the international undergrowth, they are suddenly presented with a new set of unwanted records to go with the country's ongoing failure to qualify for a tournament since the World Cup finals in 1998.
Defeat to Serbia this evening (a likely outcome) would condemn the Scots and their new manager Gordon Strachan to a fourth straight loss in competitive fixtures for the first time in the country's 140-year history. The Scots are already on their worst run in 27 years of two draws and three defeats in a wretched World Cup qualifying campaign that has already cost Craig Levein his job as manager. How apt they are playing in Novi Sad.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“When I was a coach in Portugal we were playing against Estonia and a very beautiful girl came on the pitch topless, everyone was looking at her - even me. At the time the game was 0-0, and we ended up winning it 2-0. I don't know if the guy today distracted the Russian team, but who knows, it can happen." Brazil coach and red-blooded male Big Phil Scolari concedes Fabio Capello may have a point after the Russia manager claimed a fan invading the pitch was to blame for his side conceding a late equaliser in a 1-1 friendly draw at Stamford Bridge.
Fresh from attracting record traffic for his musings on Michael Owen's retirement, England legend Paul Parker will be along from 1pm to offer his opinion on what lies ahead for the national team in Montenegro. Later on we have live coverage of all the matches involving the home nations as we continue along the road to Brazil 2014.