Football

Five reasons why England will beat Poland

Townsend ran the Montenegro defence ragged on debut (©GettyImages)
Townsend ran the Montenegro defence ragged on debut (©GettyImages).

Nine qualifiers played so far and England hold a lead - albeit a slender one - over pursuing Ukraine going into their match against Poland.

A win will guarantee Roy Hodgson's men a berth at the World Cup in Brazil next year, while any other result may also be enough to take them through. Players and fans alike would avoid taking such chances so close so success.

In their previous game, England were impressive, defeating lacklustre Montenegro by four goals to one. Here are a look at the positives for Hodgson, factors which should guide them through the final match-day of qualification:

1. Andros Townsend:

The Tottenham man made his international debut against Montenegro, coming in as a replacement for injured Theo Walcott. If anyone doubted his selection before kick-off, they certainly would have been blown away by his performance over the 90 minutes.

Townsend showed pace, strength, a good work rate and a willingness to run at defenders which helped open up the opposition on a number of occasions. He capped off the fine performance with a fantastic finish from long range, that too with his weaker foot. With performances like this, Townsend can certainly announce his arrival on the international stage.

Only 22, don't be surprised if he becomes one of the national team's main-stays over the next few years.

2. England are solid in defence

England were defensively solid all night against Montenegro, which would have definitely impressed all present at Wembley.

Never did it seem as if they would relinquish their lead, and even in dangerous situations, the back four gave a real good showing of themselves. Most impressive was the left back, Leighton Baines.

Following comments from his team-mate Phil Jagielka about how Ashey Cole still has the edge over Baines as the best left back in the world, Baines put in a superb all-round performance, and was full of running all day.

Not only does he seem capable of handling Poland's skipper Jakub Blaszczykowski defensively, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Baines push the winger back as he makes attacking runs into the opposition half as well.

3. Joe Hart seems to have regained his composure in goal

Following a string of poor performances for his club, England's No. 1 finally had a composed evening between the sticks. Hart's form, or rather lack of it, has undergone major scrutiny over recent weeks, and it would definitely come as a relief for him to put in a solid performance.

Though England did concede a goal, Hart could not possibly have done better to keep it out, and hopefully these are signs that he is returning to his usual consistent self after a short blip. Hart's performance against Poland will be key if they are to shut out Robert Lewandowski and co.   

4. Options, options

Roy Hodgson's starting XI against Montenegro did not surprise many. It is his wealth of options on the bench, however, which shows that England have some serious strength in depth this season.

Hodgson brought on Michael Carrick, James Milner and Jack Wilshere in the second half yesterday, and with exciting alternatives such as Ross Barkley still awaiting their turn, the future looks bright indeed for the national team. In my view, the depth and quality of the English ranks should overpower Poland with ease.

5. England play Poland at Wembley:

The final factor which should cause the tie to end in England's favour is that they play their deciding qualifier at Wembley Stadium. In such a crucial tie, having the home advantage as well as the support has got to play a vital role in deciding the outcome. England have won three and drawn one of their qualifiers played at Wembley, and expect them to seal the deal there come the 15th of October.

However, as we all know, this is England, and it wouldn't be the same if the fans didn't have at least half a dozen "heart in mouth" moments before the job is finally done. This new look England though appears to have goals in them, and a certain steely determination about them as well, but let's see if they can walk the walk next week.


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Topics:
World Cup
Football
England Football
Andros Townsend

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