Roy Hodgson
England manager Roy Hodgson will be under scrutiny if his side do not start playing with a more expansive style. Reuters

When and where: The 2014 World Cup qualifier kicks-off from the Zimbru Stadium in Chisinau, Moldova, at 2.45 p.m. ET. A live stream can be viewed via ESPN3.

Preview: After what was considered by many to be a "free tournament," the next stage of Roy Hodgson's tenure as England manager begins on Friday as his side take on Moldova in their opening qualifier for the 2014 World Cup.

Having been appointed just weeks before Euro 2012, expectations were understandably low heading to Poland and Ukraine. It was a tournament in which England were functional, but uninspiring before exiting to a far superior Italy side at the quarterfinal stage via a customary penalty shootout. As thoughts now turn to the chances of making an impact in Brazil, the always demanding English public will be expecting much more going forward.

While there is certainly room to expand upon a system that often saw eight men ensconced in two straight lines behind the ball, Hodgson is hamstrung by what is arguably the least talented group of English players in a generation.

Hodgson's already limited pool has been depleted with the absence of several regular squad members. Injuries to Wayne Rooney and Andy Carroll leave England painfully short up front. The England boss has failed to call-up replacements, leaving just Jermain Defoe, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck as options in attack.

With Ashley Cole, Ashley Young and Adam Johnson all out, England's left side looks likely to pick itself with Leighton Baines and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain set to get the nod.

Still, Hodgson's options are positively overwhelming when compared to that of his opposite number on Friday, Ion Caras. The 61-year-old is back for his third spell in charge after replacing Romanian Gabi Balint following non-qualification for Euro 2012.

An inexperienced squad will rely on the knowhow of the likes of captain Alexandru Epureanu, who is currently on-loan at Russian side Krylya Sovetov from Dynamo Moscow.

Moldova (probable)

G: Namasco

D: Bulgaru, Racu, Epureanu, Amas

M: Gatcan, Patras

Covalciuc, Onica, Doros

F: Picusciac

England (probable)

G: Hart

D: Walker, Cahill, Terry, Baines

M: Carrick, Lampard

Milner, Gerrard, Oxlade-Chamberlain

F: Welbeck

Prediction: Despite depleted resources, England should have too much for Moldova, even on what looks like a potentially difficult pitch. It may not be the most inspiring performance from Hodgson's side, though, and a firm case of merely getting the job done.

Moldova 0-2 England