Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Delighted Hodgson Looks to Positives despite Critics; INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Delighted Hodgson Looks to Positives despite Critics; INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL

Article excerpt

ROY Hodgson expressed his delight that England's World Cup fate remained in their own hands after Tuesday night's 0-0 draw with Ukraine - but accepted there was little margin for error.

Following the Kiev stalemate, home victories against Montenegro and Poland next month will ensure the Three Lions' place at next summer's finals in Brazil.

However, if they slip up at any point in their remaining Group H games, the play-offs or worse beckon.

"It is still very tight," Hodgson said.

"We knew a victory would put us in a good position and a draw would maintain our leadership and make certain going into the last two matches at Wembley we have our fate in our hands.

"I am more than happy we go into these last two games at Wembley top of the group and have one more point than our nearest rivals.

"That is positive as far as we are concerned."

Not everyone was so positive or enthused.

Gary Lineker, the secondhighest goalscorer in England history, was amongst those less than impressed, posting a series of tweets bemoaning England's inability to retain possession.

"We're seeing a lot of one touch football. England have a touch. Ukraine have a touch. England have a touch...," he wrote.

"When you see England pass it like they've never been introduced to each other, it does make you wonder why Carrick doesn't feature.

"We're on the precipice here. KEEP THE BALL."

In addition, in a tweet he later deleted, Lineker said: "Awful. What happens to some of these players when they pull on an England shirt?" Finally, the Match of the Day presenter said, with more than a hint of sarcasm: "Good result for England....Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina et al, you're in big trouble!" When informed of the criticism, Hodgson was not happy. "I cannot comment on what people think at home. …

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