Hodgson wary of Poland

2013-10-12 10:00
Roy Hodgson (Gallo Images)

London - Manager Roy Hodgson has warned England not to take Poland lightly in their final SWC qualifier next week after they took another stride towards Brazil with a 4-1 win over Montenegro.

Debutant Andros Townsend was England's match-winner at Wembley Stadium on Friday, helping to create Wayne Rooney's 48th-minute opener before killing off Montenegrin hopes of a comeback with a fine late strike.

The victory preserved England's lead at the top of European qualifying Group H and means they can secure a berth at next year's tournament in Brazil if they overcome Poland at Wembley on Tuesday.

England were wobbling when Townsend struck in the 78th minute, with Dejan Damjanovic having brought the visitors back into the game after an own goal from Branko Boskovic doubled the home side's advantage.

The Spurs man found the back of the net with a right-foot shot from 25 yards that crashed home off the right-hand post, with Daniel Sturridge adding a fourth goal from the penalty spot in added time.

Poland's 1-0 defeat by Ukraine in Kharkiv means that they can no longer qualify for the World Cup, but Hodgson told his players not to expect an easy ride on Tuesday.

"I watched them. In the first half they played very well against Ukraine.

"They had the best goal-scoring opportunities," he said.

"If they play as well against us on Tuesday as they did against Ukraine in the first half, it will be a tough game.

"But I always back the players.

"I trust them. We are still unbeaten in this qualifying group.

"We are capable of going unbeaten in the 10th one (game) and with the backing we got from the fans and playing at Wembley, I have got to back them. I would be foolish not to."

England will be without Kyle Walker against Poland after he picked up a booking against Montenegro that triggered a one-game suspension.

With Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley also ruled out of the game with a calf injury, Hodgson said that he intended to promote a player to his squad from the England Under-21s.

Montenegro manager Branko Brnovic conceded that his defenders had struggled to contain the livewire Townsend.

"He's a high-quality player, he's very fast," Brnovic said.

"England were very fast on the wings and were really hard to defend against.

"We had some problems with that and that's why they won."

He also revealed that Manchester City forward Stevan Jovetic's 81st-minute substitution had merely been a precautionary measure.

"He was just tired," Brnovic said.

"We have one more match against Moldova and I just wanted to keep him for the last match and not take any risks with injuries."

Read more on:    2014 swc  |  roy hodgson  |  soccer

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