Football

England 4-1 Montenegro. The good, the bad and the ugly

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Townsend showing the effort and determination that won him the man of the match award. (©GettyImages)
Townsend showing the effort and determination that won him the man of the match award. (©GettyImages).

England were frustrated throughout the first half and simply couldn't find that opening goal.

Welbeck had the first real chance of the game and probably received an earful from his teammates for not squaring the ball from a tight angle and instead forcing a relatively routine save from Poleksic.

Around the time of this chance, Ukraine took the lead in Kharkiv, piling more pressure on England to pick up the three points.

Then as time ticked by the game died a little.

England's early pace somewhat relaxed and Montenegro began to at least explore the shallow end of England's half.

What followed was millions of English natives jumping off their sofas only to slump back down again. Wayne Rooney, arguably England's best player ability-wise, misses what some would call a sitter.

It started from an England break and, man of the match, Andros Townsend cutting inside and firing towards the keepers near post. The shot was comfortably saved but was presented on a plate for Rooney who hit the side netting.

That concluded a dreary first half, England nowhere near their best and Montenegro holding their own.

All hope was not lost. Within three minutes of half time ending, England scored.

It was scrappy and relatively lucky but they all count and it was due largely to 'that kid from Spurs' Townsend.

He ran 50-60 yards down the right hand side to whip in a dangerous cross which Welbeck attacked. The shot was saved but left a routine tap in for Rooney to open the scoring.

Then a quite bizarre goal, an utter calamity in the Montenegro defence as Welbeck's pull back missed Rooney and Sturridge to find the boot of the recovery running Boskovic who slotted home expertly in the wrong goal. Poleksic was seen crying after this goal although there is debate over if the tears were due to the goal or the realisation that Montenegro couldn't now make the World cup proper.

Then England suffered a shock to the system - Jovetic's bullet rebounded of the crossbar.

Shortly after, a beacon of hope for the Montenegrin faithful and their crying keeper.

A horribly dragged shot by Beciraj was turned in due to the opportunism of Damjanovic, 2-1.

However England weren't going to be embarrassed and a moment of genius from the debutant Townsend insured that, 3-1 game over.

England then threatened on making it four and in the end they did.

Daniel Sturridge had shown lashings of his Liverpool form and confidence throughout the game but lacked the goal he would have achieved in the red shirt. 92 minutes on the clock and he rectified that, an incisive burst of acceleration forced a rash challenge and a penalty which Sturridge stepped up to take himself to seal the victory for the Three Lions.

This means England go into their final game with Poland needing a win to qualify automatically.

It's not easy. The Polish will come with their highly recognised European faces like Szczesny, Obraniak, Błaszczykowski and last but by no means least Robert Lewandowski.

I wish the commentators luck, pronouncing the names that could falter England. Can we win? Of course we can. In fact, we should.

Poland come to Wembley with nothing to play for.

Poland are a better side than most would imagine but England have the quality in their ranks to overcome them and in relative comfort as well. However this England we are talking about, the footballing nation that never makes things easy.

England struggled at times against Montenegro who do have their fair share of attacking talent, but only Manchester City drop-out Stefan Savic as a mildly recognisable name in defence.

For the whole first half England couldn't break down the opposition as they should of if they are to be regarded as a world class team.

England looked nervous at times. It seems the only players who played in freedom were the younger lads.

Starlets such as Sturridge and Townsend looked much more relaxed than some of the older heads in the England set-up. Funny that, the two that looked the most dangerous were the two picked on the form of their clubs; note that one down Roy.

In summary England can beat Poland and, i think, probably will beat Poland but it will not be a nice game to watch. I think it'll be cagy, compact and nerve wracking but we'll scrape it.

I'll predict a 2-1 and another impressive display from Townsend.

If Ukraine lose it won't matter of course that will make things a lot easier but England should focus on their task first and foremost.

Best of luck to the three lions!

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Topics:
World Cup
Football
England Football
Daniel Sturridge
Wayne Rooney
Andros Townsend
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