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England flounder in Polish damp squib

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Phil McNulty | 20:43 UK time, Wednesday, 17 October 2012

In Warsaw

After the deluge came the damp squib. England grabbed gratefully at a point as they flew out of Warsaw but this was not a performance designed to make a 24-hour wait worthwhile.

England's visit to Warsaw has almost been plucked from the world of the surreal with Tuesday's World Cup qualifier postponed as a storm raged through an open roof in the National Stadium - then restaged using that expensive overhead protection as the sun beat down.

The storms that struck Warsaw resulted in a pudding of a pitch that was an enemy of flowing football but England could be charged with similar offences after a dismal display that left manager Roy Hodgson happy to take a draw.

Wayne Rooney's 32nd England goal, in just about his only constructive contribution, put England in position to claim a crucial and undeserved win until Kamil Glik's equaliser gave Poland the very least their enterprise merited.

Hodgson, to his credit, made little attempt to disguise just how poor England were - especially in a first half when they spent long periods seeming incapable of stringing three passes together.

If, as the old saying goes, possession is nine tenths of the law England were guilty of persistent criminal negligence, a fact acknowledged in slightly more diplomatic terms by Hodgson.

England have found the road to Rio 2014 is not a smooth one. Photo: Getty

He made valid points about the delay perhaps disrupting England's rhythm of preparation and the soggy surface not helping efforts to build momentum, but there can be no real excuses. This was an England effort that went beyond average.

It also strengthened the growing belief that negotiating a path out of Group H and on to the road to Rio in 2014 may not be as easy as many thought when the draw was made.

Would anyone confidently predict England's certain participation in Brazil on the evidence of what they have produced so far and with the fixtures that still await them?

This is a group where there is lots of capacity for points to be dropped so no-one can rest easily and assume qualification. Hodgson certainly is not.

England, as they should, made short work of Moldova and San Marino but draws against Ukraine and now Poland illustrate the scale of what they must do.

The campaign resumes with an away double header against San Marino and Montenegro in March. Montenegro will, in all likelihood, be top of the group by then making England's visit to Podgorica - where they could only draw a year ago - a decisive moment in their bid for World Cup qualification.

It is the default position of any manager to draw the positives from even the blandest of performances and Hodgson was right to point out that, even after 90 minutes as desperately mediocre as this, England still claimed a point in an arena that will not prove easy for their rivals.

Headlines in Poland's influential newspaper "Gazeta" on Wednesday morning read "Skandal narodowy - Basen narodowy" - translated as "National Scandal - National Swimming Pool". It captured the mood surrounding this game.

And there was no doubt the atmosphere inside their iconic arena was more subdued for the delay, especially as the ranks of visiting England fans were significantly diminished from 2,500 to around 1,000 because of the postponement.

Their reward was a game they will quickly forget. The tentative nature of England's game was illustrated by passing that would have shamed a lower league team in the first half. Rooney, goal apart, was arguably the biggest culprit.

And the normally reliable goalkeeper Joe Hart saw blame land firmly at his feet, responsibility he accepted with candour, with an ill-judged attempt to claim a corner that led to Glik's leveller.

It was simply that sort of night but England and Hodgson cannot afford to have too many like this because better, more potent, sides than Poland will not allow it to go unpunished.

Of course, the sub-plot to this whole game were the farcical events of the night before which have led to much embarrassment and no little anger here in Poland.

And while England's players cannot draw plaudits for the manner in which they played, it would be churlish not to acknowledge their very worthy efforts - and those of the Football Association - to compensate supporters who suffered through the indecision of the authorities on Tuesday.

The cynics will, no doubt, carp that highly paid players can afford it, but credit to them and the FA for agreeing to reimburse ticket money for supporters who stayed on in Warsaw to attend Wednesday's rescheduled game.

The Polish federation will set up a refund process for those who were unable to attend while all 2,500 fans who bought tickets will be invited to a special England training session at Wembley or St. George's Park before the end of the season.

The other reward England seek after this eventful stay in a country that affords a warm welcome, and felt genuine sadness at Tuesday's farce, is a place in the World Cup in two years.

England have made a solid, unspectacular start to their task - but will need to offer a lot more than they displayed in Poland on Wednesday to complete their mission successfully


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  • Comment number 1.

    An awful performance from England. At the moment the team are going backwards. Hodgson is far too conservative in his selections and has shown astonishing tactical naivety. If we make it to the World Cup in Brazil (which given this group should have been a formality) then we will surely lose to the first decent team we play in the knockout stages.

  • Comment number 2.

    Cut and paste from the earler blog with amendments:

    We are witnessing without doubt the worst England set-up I've ever seen, and that takes some saying after clueless clowns like Graham Taylor and Schteve McClaren in charge of the team.
    Message to Hodgson:
    Roy, negativity oozes from your every pore, and it rubs off on the players. NLP techniques are no match for basic footballing tactical knowledge, so only you will know why you started Cleverley on the left wing, when we have a left sided player already fit for the role. Oxlade Chamberlain scored and looked confident after scoring, so the answer is to drop him and play a talented central midfielder out on the left in his place? Roy you are clueless and devoid of any ideas. NEGATIVE.
    The insistence of Milner and Johnson further compounds your lack of tactical SAVVY. Two wrongs do not make a right. Milner is not a winger. If he has to be played stick him in midfield where he can round like a headless chicken making a nuisance of himself.
    Never ever ever pick Carrick again. He makes Carlton Palmer look good.
    Never ever start with Rooney. He is fortunate to have grabbed a few goals, but his contribution to the team is an absolute zero. It'sa team game after all, but Roy, your selection suggests you haven't quite grasped this concept.
    The farce of the stadium roof is nothing compared to the farce of how you ever got chosen to manage England, that is the real farce.
    Do the decent thing Roy, resign. You cannot take this team forward with your NEGATIVE mindset.

  • Comment number 3.

    But Hodgson does not believe in possession. Remember what he said after Belgium friendly? We have to accept the fact that England will play with rigid formations and may be able to get one or two goals here and there to win matches. Nothing to get excited/frustrated (delete as appropriate) about

  • Comment number 4.

    Excellent stuff from England.

    They're not world beaters. Far from it.
    Qualifying for Brazil '14 would be a great achievement considering the lack of quality Roy has at his disposal.

    The media love leading fans to believe that England are world cup favourites. Then when it all goes wrong go hysterical just to sell papers and boost viewing figures.

    A point away to Poland, still unbeaten in the qualifiers and top of the group.
    Well done boys.

    A happy and realistic England fan.
    (don't fall in to the media trap)

  • Comment number 5.

    You make it sound like most other England fixtures aren't damp squibs.

  • Comment number 6.

    The Tournament in SA did it for me.
    It all seems so basic.
    Technique is everything.
    Work on on top rate first touch, give and go, move into space i.e. where the ball is likley to be passed to and into front of your team mate's feet so he can run onto it at pace and wrongfoot defence, keep posession - pass back or sideways it no option going forward.
    Is it really so hard to do this at this level???
    It seems to be.
    Our passing and distribution was poor (at best) against quality opposition the way we currently play we'll be mullered.

  • Comment number 7.

    agree with #1 - did think there would not be too much trouble qualifying from this group, now starting to think England could do with Group E or G such is their poor play

  • Comment number 8.

    I think the interesting thing is going to be how England perform against Montenegro, a team who managed to beat Ukraine, and put more goals past San Marino than us.

    Now in previous years the idea that we might fail to beat them at home, and at least get a point away, would seem ludicrous, but right now...

    Carrick - Woeful
    Cole - Woeful
    Rooney - Woeful
    Cleverley - (Out of position but...) woeful
    The rest were no better than OK.

    I was happy when Roy got the job, but if his idea of attacking football is to stick Milner and Cleverley on the wings, he needs to go.

  • Comment number 9.

    Why not start with Rooney-Welbeck-Cleverly again? It's insane not to forge that partnership into something permanent for the national side.

  • Comment number 10.

    Oh dear it seems the Plodders have been found out yet again.

  • Comment number 11.

    The match was an absolute disaster. The manager isn't to blame its the players I don't understand how they play so well for club yet for country they seem so lathargic and bored. Today's game was painful to watch. As a utd fan, carrion was useless (may aswell have not decided to play for England) and Rooney was appalling as always for England. Things need to change because at the moment the team is letting the fans down and the home of football

  • Comment number 12.

    We were truly awful and lucky to escape with a draw. Carrick should never play again and Rooney wasn't far behind in ineptitude. The real culprit is the Manager - awful, defensive choice of team - we don't deserve to qualify. Where do we go from here?

  • Comment number 13.

    First the positives. England got a point in one of their two toughest away matches in this group and should qualify easily. Cleverley looked good in spells as did Gerrard but we need players who can influence games for longer.

    The negatives. Pitch aside the general passing was dreadful. Rooney again exposed to the world that he doesn't have a first touch anywhere near where it should be. The ball bounced off him all night and he was fortunate that one of those bounces of his shoulder ended up in the net. He has good matches where the media hype him but he was dreadful tonight and missed a sitter just before Poland scored. Please no more hero worshiping articles Phil!

  • Comment number 14.

    Perhaps ingerlands new manager's 1st press conference should include a more than honest assessment of the current situation.

    " bearing in mind what I have to work with I do not anticipate much in the way of success "

    the results against the likes of the whipping boys are now fully in perspective, they have of course been for many years, if it were not for some rather dodgy seedings and some even more dodgy group draws this ingerland side would not be selling any t-shirts soon, very much like scotland northern ireland and wales.

  • Comment number 15.

    No getting away from it - it was a poor performance, although it must be said that the pitch conditions were poor and our players, so often spoilt by Premiership pitches, struggled to adjust.

    However given this, I wonder if Roy should have changed the game plan, and put on Carroll and gone a bit more route one.

    I know this would have not been a popular tactic, but given the playing conditions and the fact the English players struggled with the passing game, it may have paid dividends.

    It was all too predictable when with about 30 minutes to go England seemingly decided to defend what we had, and tried to shut out the game, only to be undone.

    Not our finest 90 minutes, but is a point away from home a disaster against one of our biggest rivals ?

  • Comment number 16.

    What a shocking performance. Terrible choice of formation, no wide players at all, both Cleverley and Milner were guilty of drifting inwards constantly and Defoe was completely isolated on his own up front so any offensive moves were doomed to failure. Unsurprisingly England's only goal was from a set piece and it was a lucky one at that, the only other decent chance was when Welbeck went one on one with the keeper but there was no support for him and minutes later Poland equalised. Finally, what was Hodgson doing removing Rooney for the Ox who quite frankly was mediocre at best. A run of eleven games unbeaten in normal time should not disguise the fact that Hodgson is clearly not doing his job properly.

  • Comment number 17.

    Cue: 100 cleverdicks that think they know more than Roy and England would be world-beaters if he would only listen to them.

    England weren't great but we don't have great players and those that are good are not as good as the premiership makes them look.

    Good point, could be crucial.

  • Comment number 18.

    Don't understand why Hodgson doesn't play Lennon and the Ox, or anyone with pace, why not play Carroll if you knew all along that the pitch was going to be slow and not good for passing? Surely you could have guessed that Roy? Small amounts of rain may quicken a pitch but downpours like that make it slow and hard to play good football on.

    The fact is that Hodgson expects Gerrard to stay back and wants Rooney to come deep (or whatever Rooney wants to do himself seeing as he's so obsessed with the role he plays at Man Utd) which leaves only Defoe upfront in a rigid 4-5-1 with 4 central midfielders, all restricted by negative tactics and who all lack pace and it seems a pass, even on a good surface. Rooney should never come deep for England, WC 2010 proved that, he doesn't score goals and he's not even that good with the ball, he can run at defenders but seeing as all build up play is slow and all-to-feet there is no chance Rooney can flourish in a 4-4-2, maybe in a 4-3-3 with roaming midfielders like Scholes and Kagawa and interchanging with Van Persie as seen against Newcastle. Defoe can play alone for Spurs because he has breaks with pace from Lennon, Bale and even Dembele in a 4-3-3, not like this, silly tactics from Roy. But I won't criticise him because he makes England hard to beat but so are Poland as shown today who can break with pace and yet still hold a shape at the back to prevent being broken down, there is a balance Roy, it doesn't have to be one or the other. Walcott, Lennon, Ox, Sterling whoever provide enough pace. At times tonight I thought why not bring on Walker and Baines and put Johnson and Cole as wingers - as frustrated as I was with the lack of pace.

    England need more pace, Gary Neville has pointed this out time and time again on Sky how pacey breaks and build ups with urgency are the most deadly (just watch Man Utd v Newcastle, Spurs v Reading Spurs v Man Utd and Borussia Dortmund v Man City and even Poland tonight) and he's a coach with England.

  • Comment number 19.

    9.At 21:54 17th Oct 2012, Russeljones wrote:
    Why not start with Rooney-Welbeck-Cleverly again?

    I did not see the match but from what has been reported they were all rubbish , along with carrick.

  • Comment number 20.

    "It is the default position of any manager to draw the positives from even the blandest of performances"

    And this blog's default position to draw the negatives...

  • Comment number 21.

    14.At 22:09 17th Oct 2012, HaHA CharadeYouAre2 wrote:

    Hi Man
    Nice to see you posting again.

    Personally I blame Suarez and Wenger for England´s failure to beat Poland.

  • Comment number 22.

    I dont understand why we are this stage again, talking about another mediocre england performance. The media and the majority of fans out there need to be a bit more realistic nowdays and realise that england are not a top team anymore. This is something that isnt going to be resolved overnight and will take years of development. We have to be one of the poorest teams at retaining the ball and if we dont change this, then we will never win anything

  • Comment number 23.

    Go to a game expecting to win rather then playing to win - It is always Englands mentality!

    That's why this situation is so repetitive. Their Fifa ranking flatters them and they therefore believe showing up will do the job! They live in nostalgia of "We've beaten this team this many times and that team that many...". Fact is other teams change, develop, train harder, correct their problems and face every game with the hunger to win - regardless of the opponent! Poland came out with a point tonight because they were proud to play against an England team, who on paper, they know are better then them. However, Poland (both the team and their supporters) will additionaly be proud if they make it to the world cup in Rio regardless of where they end up. Whereas England and their supporters EXPECT to be in Rio! Until they change this mentallity (even if that does involve changing players) England will never progress at an international level!

  • Comment number 24.

    @21 Repo

    hi there :)

    nice to be among the fold again.

    as for "Personally I blame Suarez and Wenger for England´s failure to beat Poland."

    you beat me to it i was going to mention the same :)

    I dare say it wont be long before the Blog is awash with " its Jonny foreigners fault " and SKY TV.

  • Comment number 25.

    Time to put Carrick out to grass and give Cleverley another couple of years to learn what it is to play penetrating forward passes rather than sideways and backwards (son of Ray Wilkins?). Let's start playing out and out strikers and a midfield that can actually make things happen - please, please, please let Wilshire stay fit for the rest of the qualifiers. Please God get Parker back fit. And, please, please Hodgson play Rooney at the tip of a midfield diamond not as a striker

  • Comment number 26.

    23. At 22:26 17th Oct 2012, Krzyk wrote:
    Whereas England and their supporters EXPECT to be in Rio!
    Not me. I see what is before me. This the worst England set up I've ever seen.

  • Comment number 27.

    #11 The players play better for their clubs for 2 reasons; 1, the premier league is a fast, physical league, very different to international football, 2, they have talented european/south americans playing with them.

    The problem is that England players are not coached properly and developed from a young age. In this country there is so much emphasis on winning from a young age, and physical ability, that technical ability is sorely missed. You look at all the best teams in the premier league - they all have foreign players that run the midfield. Arsenal have arteta/cazorla, chelsea have oscar/mata/hazard, man utd have kagawa, city have nasri/toure etc etc. It means that there is often a good balance - the british players bring the physicality needed, and the foreign players bring the technical ability needed to keep the ball. The problem for England is that we do not have enough players with this technical ability - therefore whenever we come up against half-decent opposition we can't keep the ball or move it around effectively enough to create chances. In my mind there are 2 english players that have this ability - wilshere and cleverly. What we need to do is to build the team around them. Get rid of Gerrard, milner, barry, lampard etc, (players that have never produced when it matters for england) and build the team around our youngsters that can actually keep the ball. Realistically, are any of those four above going to be starting at Brazil 2014? I really hope not! Therefore we should be playing our players of the future, give them time to play well together and gel as a team. My ideal team (if everyone was fit) would be:





  • Comment number 28.

    24.At 22:26 17th Oct 2012, HaHA CharadeYouAre2 wrote:

    It was a strange week with some strange results !

    I think International football is now a lottery , it might have something to do with the players not receiving hard cash to play for their national teams.

    Watch them all perorm in the EPL at the weekend where they will get a 20% win bonus if they succeed :)

  • Comment number 29.

    At 22:16 17th Oct 2012, repo wrote:

    9.At 21:54 17th Oct 2012, Russeljones wrote:
    Why not start with Rooney-Welbeck-Cleverly again?

    I did not see the match but from what has been reported they were all rubbish , along with carrick.

    Especially Carrick.

  • Comment number 30.

    At 22:16 17th Oct 2012, repo wrote:

    I did not see the match but from what has been reported they were all rubbish , along with carrick.


    How can you possibly form an opinion unless YOU saw the match ?

  • Comment number 31.

    Why are people and pundits surprised, the players don't care about playing for England, that shows throughout the team with their Jekyll and Hyde performances in EPL and for England, why would they on 100k+ a week. Shambles.

  • Comment number 32.

    29.At 22:35 17th Oct 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    At 22:16 17th Oct 2012, repo wrote:

    9.At 21:54 17th Oct 2012, Russeljones wrote:
    Why not start with Rooney-Welbeck-Cleverly again?

    I did not see the match but from what has been reported they were all rubbish , along with carrick.

    Especially Carrick.

    ESG will probably send us to the naughty step when he reads this thread :)

  • Comment number 33.

    Why are people surprised by Englands ineptitude. Woy should never have been given the job in the first place, just a cheap option at the time. Woys tactics have always been ten defenders and try and pinch a goal.He will soon be up there with the great managers from the past like the wally with the brolly and turnip head. The F.A Are the real culprits for giving the job to the clown, when will they listen to the people who pay there money the fans.

  • Comment number 34.

    Seems like some people are saying we think we know more than Roy. Well he picked the wrong team.

    Have never understood the fascination with Rooney. Carrick was awful. Gerrard was just lumping the ball forward again. When Clevs tucked inside looked decent. Poor Defoe, he had nothing to work with but should have scored. We need Wilshere Cleverley and Parker in the middle. Ox and Lennon should always start and Wellbeck should be up top. Enough of Cashley. Baines in with Gibbs understudy. Walker should also start in front of GJ.

    At CB, we need someone who can pass the ball, so for me, Cahill in for Lescott. Caulker and Lescott should back up Jagielka and Cahill.

    Until we start players who can pass and move and have some agility, these boring games will continue.

  • Comment number 35.

    30.At 22:38 17th Oct 2012, eccles45 wrote:
    I did not see the match but from what has been reported they were all rubbish , along with carrick.


    How can you possibly form an opinion unless YOU saw the match ?
    _______________________________________________ opinions were only ever formed after the invention of television ?

    Maybe we should tell all these journalists who write columns in national newspapers that they are actually wasting their time.

  • Comment number 36.



    the Rankings and Seedings and resulting " pots" have for to long assured a safe passage to the latter stages, not just in this tournament but others also, this being the case its not hard to understand the " english mentality" including of course the majority of its supporters .

  • Comment number 37.

    Thanks for the Poland v England blog Phil.

    An entertaining match to watch, and where the standout performer for me was the excellent referee. England’s passing was not always as good as it might have been Phil but by no stretch of the imagination was it “dreadful”.

    My thoughts on England’s play:-

    1. By and large they kept the ball on the ground;

    2. In the main they found pass-receiving space;

    3. They are better without Walcott;

    4. Defoe is lost in a 4-5-1;

    My ratings for the game:-

    Poland 4/10

    regain possession 2/3
    retain possession 2/3
    GD home team (min0 max4) 0/4

    England 5/10

    regain possession 2/3
    retain possession 2/3
    GD + 1 away team (min0 max4) 1/4

    RH record so far - P11 W7 D4 L0 (incl. Italy 0-0 normal time).

  • Comment number 38.

    @37 Equilibro

    I'd be interested to know why you would rate the England performance as a 5/10 and Poland as a 4/10.

  • Comment number 39.

    Why do I fear the reaction would be oh so different had England held on. Win ugly and all that rubbish. Like in the Euros when as long as they got out of the group it was all quite rosy even though all four displays were clearly as good/bad as today's.

    People need to realise goals and standalone results are only coincidental and short term


  • Comment number 40.

    We were crying out yet again for the best midfielder of his generation.

    Someone to pass the bloody ball accurately.

  • Comment number 41.

    Apologies, I should have written majority! However, England are a nostalgic team living in the past. Any tournament....lets bring up the world cup won nearly 50 years ago now! Get over it....England have not, are not, and will not be a world class team in the forseeable future without some serious changes to the approach to training and games!

  • Comment number 42.

    39. At 22:55 17th Oct 2012, nibs wrote:
    Thankfully that didn't happen. I wouldn't have been too surprised by a Poland winner either, in fact I might have welcomed it. Not that it would have changed anything in the smug England establishment.

  • Comment number 43.

    Can anyone explain to me why England managers (going back at least to Sven) have constantly picked Rooney in the face of countless useless performances?

  • Comment number 44.

    Decent point against a decent team in poor conditions. I really wish we'd play a 5-3-2 though or some variation of it:





    You could experiment with the midfield a bit, both positionally and personnel wise, but this formation should allow our full backs to get forward a lot and create the width. General play would be quite slow and would make us pass the ball a lot more and work it and with good numbers in the middle of the park, it would be solid and players could have more freedom

  • Comment number 45.

    @2. parkthebuskickandrush
    I completely agree with you mate. Roy does not have a clue when it comes to forming an attacking team. He plays a youthful side against san marino which are basically a semi pro team (embarrassing that we only scored 5!) an thinks 'that's 1 game for the youth, now lets bring the same old squad back in.' How are the young players meant to evolve into quality footballers with games against the likes of san marino, how about playing them against a half decent side in poland to see if they can hack it, and even if they can't try try again it's meant to be a building process! I don't understand why he plays milner them two must be real good mates because roy surely can't be selecting him for his 'amazing talent' (sigh) starting milner just shows, like you said, how negative roy is cos milner is more of a defensive winger who just runs and runs but gives nothing going forward! I disagree with the Carrick comment, with the likes of cleverley, rooney and welbeck there is good chemistry between the four aslong there is players like ox, walcott and lennon about to help. Adding milner to the frame just disrupts the whole thing and to be honest I think carricks 1 touch football is alot better than gerrards he seems sloppy with his touches. He has heart but heart doesn't always win games if the quality is lacking which is for him as of late.
    Richards/Walker - Jagielka - Cahill - Rose/Bertrand/Baines (Cole is still great but needs to be phased out)
    Walcott - Cleverley - Carrick/Ox - Lennon
    Rooney/Defoe - Welbeck/sturridge
    Just one mans opinion haha

  • Comment number 46.

    At 23:02 17th Oct 2012, parkthebuskickandrush wrote:

    39. At 22:55 17th Oct 2012, nibs wrote:
    Thankfully that didn't happen. I wouldn't have been too surprised by a Poland winner either, in fact I might have welcomed it. Not that it would have changed anything in the smug England establishment.

    Too true. Failing to qualify for Euro 2008 did not change anything other than the manager.

    Hodgson is a limited, conservative manager but even Mourinho or Hiddink would be unable to transform England into a team that can win a tournament.

  • Comment number 47.

    I honestly don't understand why people are so quick to judge after one game, and how if we meet one of the "big" teams at RIO we will go crashing out. I feel that the "weaker" teams need to stop being underestimated, is everyone forgetting that Holland gave away a FOUR goal lead to a "poor" swedish team yesterday? I think our point looks slightly better after being put in that context.

  • Comment number 48.

    Better England sides than this did no better than draw in Poland.

    And still qualified for the WC/Euro in question.

    Worry about the style when & if we qualify.

    Yes, we WERE crap, but we didn't lose. You can't start building a dream team if you never qualify for the Finals. Just look at Wales & Gareth Bale-whose position would YOU prefer to be in out of Chris Coleman & Woy?

  • Comment number 49.

    @47 cooper123

    They are probably struggling to remember because it was Germany who let a 4 goal lead slip against Sweden!

  • Comment number 50.

    can't polish a turd

  • Comment number 51.


    Yeh, it was a sensational comeback, enough to leave us all stunned, but it was actually GERMANY not Holland who blew it! Which makes it all the more enjoyable as an England supporter!

  • Comment number 52.

    ---Walcott----Rooney----Chamberlain/ Young

    Enough of the overrated mediocrity, no names mentioned: CLEVERLY, MILNER. Time to get England playing quality football. That's why I take pride in being at the emirates every other week, I want to be proud to be at wembely.

  • Comment number 53.

    ---Walcott----Rooney----Chamberlain/ Young

    Sorry team came out funny.

  • Comment number 54.

    English manager for England. Same result. People getting caught thinking that making a superficial change will shake the foundations of a deeply flawed organisation.

  • Comment number 55.

    You can't blame Hodgson for having to manage the worst collective group of England players I can ever recall.

    Some has-beens, a few useful reserves and bit players for top PL teams, and a bunch of kids who people like SAF say 'will be great one day' .... which is all he can say when his own team is starting to fall apart around him. Oh yes, and the vastly over-rated Rooney, who had one brilliant season for MU and apart from that varies between mediocre and awful.

  • Comment number 56.

    Roy Hodgson needs to end his obession with Man Utd players if we are to qualify.

    Stick with Rooney in the hope he will come good but get rid of Cleverley, Carrick and Welbeck....they are simply not good enough....also forget about Jones & Smalling.

  • Comment number 57.

    Lol @ 56. The same old record.

  • Comment number 58.

    @ 57

    Hello are you kettle?!

  • Comment number 59.

    I fully expected a draw before the roof shenanigans, and maybe even a win for England in this hastily re-arranged fixture, due to a possible sense of anti-climax on the Polish side?
    What was a little disappointing were the mistakes, the poor passing, poor control, lack of confidence and general poor football from England.
    Maybe the roof events had lead to this? I don't know, but a point is a point, and an always potentially tricky game, that may be remembered more for the roof, is behind us without too much real damage.
    Erm, job done, now, five months to improve!

  • Comment number 60.

    @43., Gypsy Davey wrote:

    Can anyone explain to me why England managers (going back at least to Sven) have constantly picked Rooney in the face of countless useless performances?


    (i) he has good spells of club football

    (ii) we have the worst set of English strikers since 1882

    (ii) all the pundits & journalists told us for years he was our own 'White Pele' and now don't want to admit they got it wrong.

  • Comment number 61.

    Can't believe there are some thinking a point is good. Then there is the 'no easy game' bull or worry about the style after/if we qualify artists.

    It is not about drawing a match, it is more about the direction the national team is heading. Any team, well any normal team will have positives and negatives when they play, which can be worked on. It is all negative and England are at the point of collapse as a team.

    Football is a sport, England have to stop thinking about anything else but competing on the pitch because that is what sport is all about. Commercial considerations have to be cast aside when it comes to the England team because there is no doubt this team is not being picked on merit or current player form.

    Commercially the FA just need the England team to qualify for a tournament. Competing at a tournament is simply not part of the FA's agenda.

    That policy has come home to roost and the wheels are falling off.

  • Comment number 62.

    As soon as I saw the team that Roy Hodgson picked for the game, I cringed. No natural wingers to run down the flanks, having to rely on Milner to cover Johnson's deficiencies in defence, Cleverly (possibly) on the left...all this to take on Poland - wow. Then the game gets postponed, and I stoopidly thought it was a chance for Roy to maybe change something to be a bit more attack-minded. Should have known...
    What is the point of having TWO PLAYERS playing one position? Why pick Milner to cover Johnson, who's picked as the RB? Granted, Johnson wasn't that bad in his defensive duties today as he normally is, but having no naturally attacking players on either wing smacked of fear.
    I didn't take much notice of Hodgson during his years as manager of Fulham or WBA, but I heard how disappointed Liverpool fans were when he managed them. So is that happening now with England? Because they are just so dull and way too conservative in their play. And if it's not the manager's fault, are the players out there just not good enough?
    One thing I will say - if Harry Redknapp was manager, as much as people thought he never had a "Plan B", he'd have had some excitement in the games England played. Although, that might have meant them losing 6-5 or something...

  • Comment number 63.

    Lol @ 58.

    I'm not serious about Scholes, it's there for a reason.

  • Comment number 64.

    It's sadly illustrative of the average England fan and English media's memory of England's performances that a lot of the comments and analysis seem to have fingered Carrick as a major factor in England's ineptitude, because they were great at passing and ball retention in the Euro's without him right? Picking out individual players at this point is almost redundant, but picking people that aren't regulars definitely is. England have been useless for years, it's time to rip out the old guard and the coaching set up and start with blank piece of paper.

  • Comment number 65.

    Without question a shocking performance by England but I think that choice in players and their positions undoubtedly the worst part about it. Why the likes of James milner and glen Johnson are in the team I have no idea when we have the likes of lennon and walker who are an established pairing for a top four side in the prem. Then somehow the performance of cole is going unnoticed byalot of people when he was shocking, give baines the run out he deserves in the side as I believe he is just as good as Cole now. Put the ox on the left as well and move cleverly back into the middle so he can interchange with rooney like he has been for man utd recently. Honestly what I think is the biggest shame in the hodgson era so far though is naming a captain who will be past it by the time Rio comes around and is already declining, especially when we have the likes of Joe hart who is going to have that position for the next 10 years. I know he may not have many caps but he is in my opinion the ideal captain, not saying stevie isn't a great captain but his time to become captain was under capello, not now.

  • Comment number 66.

    chad secksington @64

    England have been useless for years, it's time to rip out the old guard and the coaching set up and start with blank piece of paper.

    We have already done that, Roy is a blank piece of paper.

  • Comment number 67.

    I really don't understand the hype behind Cleverly, what has he done at (club or international) level to cement a place in this England side? Good game against Moldova (who recently grafted a hard-fought 1-0 win against san marino) seems to have made him untouchable....Against any team with defensive quality he won't get a kick, as seen vs Ukraine (Tymoshenko)... too early for him to be a regular surely. As for Carrick. I dont think i've heard a commentator say 'X caught in possession' combined with 'X gives the ball away' so many times in one game.

    Does anyone know when Wayne Rooney's last good performance for England was?? He gave away the ball every single time he touched the ball apart from once when he scored. and even then poland get the ball back at the restart!!! Persist for a while longer and hope he comes good, but he deserved to be substituted today he was that poor.

    Moan over. I am, believe it or not, a realistic England fan, and I don't think our points total is too bad, or indeed have anything against the manager, but as an amateur who played today on a pitch in worse condition than that one and still managed to string 10 passes together as a team, I expect better from England internatioals....

  • Comment number 68.

    Why some expect anything from this English team amazes me. No movement off the ball or natural ability, it's been coached out them from a young age.

    As long as they can run all day, (cheeks red and puffy) they're in.

  • Comment number 69.

    Another depressing performance from the nation's cream. We just seem to be making no progress from match to match. The only positive is that Hodgson seems to be sticking to a passing pholosophy and will not revert to the long ball game with a big centre forward that will never see us progress on the international stage. A passing philosophy is all very well but we just seem to have players who can't consistently pass well - certainly not INCISIVE IMAGINATIVE passes that can split defences - this is perhaps the single most depressing thing. I do think the jury is out on Hodgson - in the match against Poland there were so many occasions where there was acres of space to be had in the final third both in midfield areas and on the wings - certainly Poland didn't close down space between the penalty area and the centre line. Yet our players never exploited this space which good international players should be able to - Milner always gives 100% and I like him as a player but he is plainly not a winger and it really shows - he just hasn't got the pace or skill to beat defenders. In fact I just don't think he's of international class. Gerrard's attributes don't seem to be utilised properly either - his main attribute at club level is his energy in bursting from midfield, running past midfielders and defenders - yet he seemed shackled in a holding role - I wonder if this is following Hodgson's instructions or whether he is simply past his best. As for Rooney, for a player with so much undoubted talent, I cannot believe how bad he was. Not for the first time (remember his performances in South Africa especially against Algeria) his touch and passing were often woeful. For me, something is badly wrong there and in truth has been for a while (I wish I knew what). If it weren't for his occasional goals there is now way he should be anywhere near an international team playing like that. Then there's Carrick - again undoubtedly talented and generally a fine passer, but very poor against Poland. Why isn't Hodgson getting the best out of these players? (surely a big part of his job). Poland are an average team and any good international side would beat them comfortably. We badly need a player with imagination in midfield (Jack Wilshere) as our attacks are far too predictable. We will I think qualify from a very weak group but founder quickly when up against quality sides in Brazil. It really is very depressing - the lack of technique of some of our players and lack of imagination. Against Poland, we hadn't even got the excuse that the players were tired at the end of a long season (which undoubtedly is one reason for our lamentable displays in South Africa). In October they should be physically at their peak yet they all seemed sluggish and lacklustre. That is unacceptable and reflects poorly on both the players and management. Still things could be much worse - I could be Scottish :-)

  • Comment number 70.

    Steven Gerrard: "We know we can play better than that."
    Roy Hodgson: "It wasn't one of our better performances."

    But what is an example of one of England's better performances? When have we played better than that?

    Where is the evidence of what England are really capable of, on a good day? What is our benchmark? Which England display do the England players look to for inspiration and try to replicate?

    When did England last play to the standards that they as players and we as supporters could really feel proud of?

  • Comment number 71.

    @66. , Londoner in exile returns wrote:

    We have already done that, Roy is a blank piece of paper.


    England are not even good on paper anymore

  • Comment number 72.

    England...bland football. safe. uninspiring...why bother?

    I like Roy...knowledgable, affable and has the respect from the players...but it wouldn't matter if you stuck Vicente Del Bosque, Rinus Michels, Brian Clough, Jock Stein, Helenio Herrera or Ian Holloway as manager because unless this culture of inflexible pedestrian lethargic kick-a-ball play isn't eradicated and vibrant free flowing passing passionate football introduced then we might as well just moan for all eternity anf watch other nations grab the glory...

  • Comment number 73.

    I blame Alan Ball for all this run run run mentality. God, he was like forrest Gump.

  • Comment number 74.

    Poland must be asking how and why a game against England could cost so much.

    First the roof or lack of it when it was needed, they may well get a FIFA fine for the rain that fell.

    Then England, they stank the stadium out so much, Poland are going to have to pay for it to be fumigated.

  • Comment number 75.

    John Terry is missed by England and so is Frank Lampard. But dont worry we have the FA making sure the players behave well. And that is good isnt it?
    The FA need to stop vendettas and decide that racialism is what happened in Serbia not the possible use of one word. Serbia should be thrown out for fighting too. Poland did not help England by the state of the pitch and the delay and you have to wonder if it was planned.

  • Comment number 76.

    Hang on, for all those suddenly baying for Roy's head; get real!!

    #2 Tactical naievety, really? This is the man who took the Swiss and the Finns to heights beyond their capabilities. We have a limited team and are doing fair given their ability. Give the man a chance.

    Seriously, how many world class players in the England team? Rooney? At club level yes, in an England shirt not since 2004. We are a team which is average in international terms. We will qualify for 2014 and probably get to the quarters.

  • Comment number 77.

    I am very very disapointed with the way the Three Lions played, all the players on the field of play are just too ordinary


  • Comment number 78.

    I think what people need to realise is that this performance wasn't a bad performance at all. This is the level that England are at as a team right now.

    We have some good young players coming through, with technical ability but not enough of them to implement the syle that Hodgson seems to want to play. We don't play to our (admittedly very limited) strengths at all.

    Welbeck, Carrick, Cleverly....not good enough! Cleverly certainly not good enough to play on the left. If he is to play then it should be as part of a 3 man midfield with Gerrard and when fit Wilshere. Rooney should then play up front with Walcott and Ox either side of him playing as attacking wingers but Rooney needs to learn to play as a striker. He doesn't need to be dropping deep every 5 mins to be involved all the time. In fact, maybe Defoe should play upfront and drop Rooney until he learns that he needs to be far more tactical at international level.

  • Comment number 79.

    @ 75

    Not sure that Poland have the power to plan the weather!

    In regards to John Terry and Frank Lampard, how have we missed them? JT probably shouldn't be involved for footballing reasons now anyway. Good leader and good player in his day but caught out too many times recently and is not international class.

    Lampard doesn't do anything different to someone like Gerrard or even Carrick. I think Wilshere is the type of player that we miss far more. Although I don't think we have the intelligent runs from a forward player to utilise his vision and passing ability anyway.

  • Comment number 80.


    Wilshere is the type of player that we miss far more. Although I don't think we have the intelligent runs from a forward player to utilise his vision and passing ability anyway.

    Nail on the head.

    We would need far more than Wilshire, in fact playing him that team would make it worse [if that is possible] for him. He'd be like a fish out of water with no movement around him, therefore no one to pass to.

  • Comment number 81.

    Team selection? Clearly Roy was going for the point? It's no surprise the more, shall we say, 'less ambitious' 'steady types' were played.
    And as for Rooney's poor game? Even a poor Wayne gets 'us' the point.
    I would have personally preferred Welbeck instead of Defoe, less clinical maybe, but more of a (general) handful, tends to get/be involved more, things happen etc.
    Natural born wingers? Of course! But you've to balance their flair with the more mundane 'dirty work' in tricky away fixtures sometimes.
    Maybe some of you would prefer great attacking games? Hang the result? Folk would be screaming for a more defensive formation if we played 'great' and lost lol :)

  • Comment number 82.

    The easy thing is to blame a player like Carrick who performs so well for his club. We have a ton of players like that. Why ?

    Because we have no movement at all. It's like our players don't want to work for an opening or some space. Being a midfielder for England is like a death sentence.

    The reason why Barcelona and Spain, and Germany, all play a much stronger passing game, is that they are able to do that not "because they are better passers", but BECAUSE THEY HAVE SOMEONE TO PASS TO. Their midfielders have at least 2-3 options every time someone gets the ball so their moves continue.

    In England's midfield, our moves break down quickly because we run out of options. Watch this next time we play and you'll see it. Gerrard and Carrick frantically glancing around for an open man.

    So why should this be the case? It's because the England set-up, and i';m not blaming Hodgson for this, is a cancerous system and needs total overhaul. I truly think that England players could care less whether they play anymore because it is such a depressing place to be on game day.

    Watching today's match, this team wouldn't survive in the Premiership. Not for a season. I've coached before, at the youth level, and if this was my team, I'd be talking to the parents of the players to find out if they wanted to be here or not.

    There is no aggression, no drive and no want to work hard on the field. They do it to not look stupid, which is why I wanted all that junk from SA 2010 out after the Finals. That's why I'm so anti-Milner, Lampard, Barry, Terry, Johnson. Get rid of this crap. It's not working.

    Frankly, I'd rather put our younger players out there and teach them the right way, and get them better. Watch them stumble and fail but in the knowledge that we are getting somewhere.

    This is torture, folks. It's been this way for a long, long, time.

  • Comment number 83.

    At 01:28 18th Oct 2012, NetleyLucas wrote:

    Maybe some of you would prefer great attacking games? Hang the result? Folk would be screaming for a more defensive formation if we played 'great' and lost lol :)

    To be honest if we played 'great' then we would be beating the likes of Poland. The problem is I struggle to think of a great England performance since 2001.

  • Comment number 84.

    i am still trying to understand a few things

    1) how on earth is carrick still wearing an england shirt
    2) why is milner deployed on the wing? he is not a winger.
    3) how does rooney still get a call up?
    4) surely there are other midfielders that can be used other than cleverley who is a jack of all trades but a master of none.
    5) how is glen johnson getting a call up over kyle walker
    6) why is defoe still in the england set up

    i just dont understand why hodgson cant see what EVERYONE sees and why he cant make cut throat decisions. put your mark on the squad woy, we want to see something new and refreshing!

  • Comment number 85.

    The same laments since 1966, and I'm old enough to remember. Can only recall one player in that time to rival the great south Americans and continentals in the promise of sheer flair and brilliance at an international level, Gazza, and see what happened to that poor man. No-one really knew how to bring him on, develop and support him. We don't do that, or the team thing (see Germany, Spain). We do however run a great business: the Premier League. We're very good at that.

  • Comment number 86.

    I watched the England match today and I'll be honest, I thought England were lucky to get a point. Poland seemed to be more positive and to want to win more than England. I was also far more impressed by the Poles ability to counter-attack than by England's ability to attack. I do believe that Cleverly could develop in to a pretty good midfielder for MUFC and England, but only if he plays in the center, which is his natural position. Why Roy stuck him out on the wing is beyond me. Surely Ox would have been a better option?

    I'm delighted to see an England manager who is willing to go with the youngsters, but I think he needs to go with a few more. In my honest opinion, Rodwell* deserves a chance in the center, Baines should be LB and Michah Richards or Kyle Walker at RB and Carroll up front, partnered with either Welbeck (to run on to flick-ons) or DeFoe, who just can't play up front on his own. He just isn't that type of player. Also I think that when he's back fit again, Wilshere will do wonders to the England midfield and for a friendly match, I'd be tempted to go for a central midfield pairing of Wilshere and Rodwell; if nothing else it would give everyone the chance to see how well they work together in a match.

    I can't think of what I would call a genuine highlight of the match, now I think about it. Rooney's goal was fortunate at best and Hart made mistake with the Poles goal.

    Just out of curiosity, can anyone tell me why Kevin Nolan and Tom Huddlestone have only had a limited number of caps for England? I know that Nolan is getting on a bit in footballing years, but there was a time when he was a regular good performer in the EPL and did a damn good job for his clubs (Bolton I think). As for Tom Huddlestone, well he's never set the world alight but then he's never really failed over the course of a season. At least have him on the bench as a defensive midfield option.

    I think that's all from me. See ya guys

    P.S. HAHA Charadeyouare...for once I agree with you. England were plodders tonight.

    *If Rodwell is unfit then I apologise, I just didn't know.

  • Comment number 87.


    I agree, Gazza was a hell of a player, but I would argue that we have had two pretty damn good goal keepers in David Seaman and Joe Hart. Seaman kept his place at Arsenal under a manager in Arsene Wenger who, with his knowledge of football in Europe, could have quite easily replaced Seaman if he felt the need. As for Hart, ok he didn't cover himself in glory tonight but show me a keeper who hasn't made a mistake like that. I bet even Buffon and Casillas have looked stupid once in a while. And again, with his budget Mancini could easily replace Hart if he felt the need; but he has faith in someone who is a very good young keeper and I would put both Seaman and Hart up very close to the top in keeper ability; not quite up with. Buffon, Casillas, Khan and Schmeichel, but certainly very close.

    For the record, I'm picking keepers from the modern era because I'm only in my mid 20s so I can't comment on people from previous eras; I haven't seen nearly enough of the.

  • Comment number 88.

    after watching england in all 4 games some observations

    1. stop picking players based on who they play for. welbeck, rooney, cleverley and carrick. rooneys not deserved be there since 2004, cleverleys only there because hes a utd player. he isnt as good as his hype, carrick just isnt good enough. keep welbeck though just cus he is young and actually looks more of a threat than rooney. rooneys been a "damp squib" for 8 years. milner? he cant get starts for man city yet gets starts for england. how is he any better or worth more of a chance on wing than say lennon who plays for spurs every week? ashley cole is not the best left back in the world. he hasnt been for 2 years. baines has been better than him for past season and a half alone...

    2. if youre gonna pick players like milner then get him in the right position in the centre. he isnt a winger. gerrard is finished. he couldnt do it often for england in his prime hes got no chance now his legs have gone.

    3. how can hodgson blame the pitch? poland didnt seem to have much trouble passing it around and cutting us open regularly did they? and we are meant be better than them, is it hes just covering for his flops again who dont know how to play football? and if he thought the pitch was a problem and wanted go long ball why bring welbeck on rather than carroll? hodgson makes no sense.

    oh and if jagielka and lescott are our cb pairing based on last night then we will regret letting john terry go.

    but at end of day unless spain, holland, germany, italy, portugal, brazil, argentina and some of the african sides/ other south american sides withdraw, england wont win a world cup anytime soon. same goes for the euros with the european teams. we havent got a chance.

  • Comment number 89.

    Predictable England. They lack the Composure/Decision making skills/tactical intelligence/ Patience to play international football properly as a team. I can count on 1 hand the amount of times i have ever seen england put more than 3 meaningful passes together. If nothing happens in 2 short passes they just try a 50 yard hollywood ball.

    Arrogant mentality of thinking this way of playing works as it combines well with the foreigners at their club teams to make those teams successful...

  • Comment number 90.

    im sorry but rodwell has done nothing to receive a call up. he has been woeful at best for man city. Huddlestone is a player ive wanted to see in the england squad for a very very long time now. he would be a good holding mid who has an eye for a pass and can start a play. problem is players like sandro and dembele are keeping him out of the first team squad at spurs
    and in regards to baines on the left, i have to disagree. Baines is a great player i will agree to that, but cole is a much better player. Cole has been the only england player putting in performances for the last couple of years and should not lose his place due to some stupid off field drama

    agreed with everything said. Lescott does not deserve to start for england, he is a shadow of who he was when at everton. it would be refreshing to see cahill or shawcross given a chance to show what they can do in the CB position.

  • Comment number 91.

    Can we also please start blending a team/Squad that will actually go to Brazil..Some of the following may be injured currently but this should be the basis of the squad.


    Walker/Richards Jagielka/Shawcross Cahill/Caulker/Smalling Cole/baines/gibbs

    Wilshire/Cleverly Milner/Rodwell/Jones Chamberlain/Milner/Lallana

    Walcott/Zaha/Johnson Young/Lennon/Sturridge


    Noone expects us to play like Spain..but lets play to the strengths of our squad..Pace down the wings and solididity. Press teams high up and counter attack

  • Comment number 92.

    how could i have forgotten about caulker. great prospect

  • Comment number 93.

    @91 and even livermore in the middle of the park would do better than what we have now

  • Comment number 94.

    I started reading this blog thinking that the pre-school writing ability of the "chief football writer" would give me something to laugh at. The fourth rate hack drivel of the blog disgusts me though. Why is license fee money wasted on this cliché riddled nonsense? It typifies modern journalism, instead of trying to offer insight it offers non-opinions that you can hear in most pubs (from equally unqualified spectators).

    Either start writing something worthwhile and interesting or do the decent thing and quit. Get a job on a tabloid, if you can.

  • Comment number 95.


    most football fans dont even use this as an insight into the beautiful game, heck we dont even read phils blogs. we use this as a place to debate on football since the old 606 was taken down. i can honestly say i have not read one of phils blogs for close to 6months now.

    if youre looking for thoughtful and insightful writing, i suggest you read tim vickery's blogs on south america's football. always a delight

  • Comment number 96.

    I tend to agree mate, maybe TV's Euro '96 side were our last 'good' team, plenty of passion and skill, not world beaters perhaps, but good to watch and fairly successful.
    I think a lot is to do with the appointment of fairly technical-minded managers since TV. England seem to play best with a bit a fire in their bellies, and the succession of 'thoughtful' managers (KK excepted lol) hasn't really allowed that 'quality' or aspect to really develop.
    A pity the FA didn't go for Harry? Yep ... if nowt else, it would have been fun eh? lol:)

  • Comment number 97.

    I guess Sir Alex Ferguson has to take a portion of the blame. The national side would be looked upon much more favourably if it wasn't being carried by Man. Utd. players.

    The reason I asked why Roy didn't start with Welbeck-Rooney-Cleverly is because I felt it would be obvious from the start Defoe would be useless on such a pitch and the 3 seem to be playing well together.

  • Comment number 98.

    So, another reason why we should use all options and have a GB team! Enter Gareth Bale!!

  • Comment number 99.

    Gerrard's comment (we are professionals) was the gas of the evening. They played like spoiled girls who had to play on hair-washing night. Jermaine has changed his name to Daniel and seeks Man Friday, or any time, come to that. Rooney was out of ideas, off the pace and unable to keep or pass the ball. Is there a playmaker anywhere at home?

  • Comment number 100.

    Those saying awful performance should remember we have played our toughest group games; ukraine a) and poland a). We should win every remaining game so that would mean we finish with eight wins and two draws. Not a bad qualifying campaigne. Also will the ease of the teams left to play we can afford to ditch the lampards and the gerrards and play the relativily young flair players coming through and even blood those without caps. My eleven for brazil coming right up!


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