Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rain Delay Takes Roar out of Lions

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rain Delay Takes Roar out of Lions

Article excerpt

Poland 1 England 1 ENGLAND boss Roy Hodgson feared his team had lost some of their spark during the 24-hour delay to their World Cup qualifier with Poland.

The Three Lions left Warsaw grateful for a point after a 1-1 draw.

Wayne Rooney put the visitors in front and missed a glorious chance to double that lead, but Poland were good value for their draw in the end and could easily have had more to show for their efforts than a Kamil Glik equaliser which came after a rare mistake from Joe Hart.

Hodgson (pictured below) accepted neither side benefited from the postponement caused by Tuesday's deluge, but he felt it affected his players.

He said: "On Monday, after the training session on the pitch, the players were looking very sharp and lively. I didn't get that impression today.

"I don't want to give the impression we were hard done by and our opponents weren't, but if a game is postponed it is a little bit easier if you are on home soil. We had that extra day and night in the hotel."

Hodgson labelled the pitch as "dead", which may have contributed to uncharacteristically sloppy passing, with midfielder Michael Carrick among those most affected.

Hodgson added: "There was no question the pitch was playable but it wasn't suited to quick passing.

"Both teams made quite a few passing mistakes. At halftime we were quite surprised how many passes we had sent astray."

The positive, which cannot be dismissed, is England did not lose and, that Euro 2012 penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy excepted, remain unbeaten during Hodgson's 11 games in charge.

Their advantage in Group H is almost certain to have disappeared by the time they next play again in March as second-placed Montenegro, who are just a point behind, face minnows San Marino next month.

However, England's durability is something Hodgson is convinced will stand them in good stead.

He said: "When you are in a qualifying group, or you are with a league club, there are days when things don't always go your way. On those days it is very important you still come away with a result.

"We would have loved to have won it but we didn't produce good enough football to do that, but we did do enough to avoid defeat and go away with a point." England lacked creativity with Jermain Defoe having one of his least effective games and it was no surprise their goal came from a set piece.

Rooney silenced the home crowd after 31 minutes when he reacted first to Steven Gerrard's corner and glanced a header past Poland goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton into the corner of the net, via the shoulder of Piszczek. Cole picked up his first yellow card of the qualification campaign for time-wasting after 38 minutes.

Grosicki should have done better after getting past Joleon Lescott but he screwed his shot past the post as Poland reacted positively to going behind. …

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