Poland and England drew 1-1 in their rescheduled World Cup qualifier yesterday evening.
It was never going to be an easy game for the Three Lions, poor pitch or not.
This was their toughest game in the group and they came away from Warsaw with a point.
The England display was poor and the draw was probably a fair result in the end, but the circumstances didn’t help. Had this game been played on Tuesday night there might have been a different result.
Unfortunately due to the ineptitude of the Polish officials the game had to be rearranged because of a waterlogged pitch, which ended up looking more like a swimming pool than a football pitch on Tuesday night.
However, both teams had to deal with the pitch and the home side adapted their game to the conditions better than the visitors.
To be quite frank the first half of this encounter was pretty poor. England took the lead in the 31st minute through a Wayne Rooney effort, but only the most diehard England fans could have said that they deserved it.
England just never got going. There was no tempo in the England passing, no attacking flair and the passing was poor yet again. England were constantly turning over possession to the Poles.
I have to give credit to the home side they rallied around and came back into the game in the second half. England keeper Joe Hart made a mistake for their equaliser, but at that point it felt almost inevitable that Poland would score.
Poland never looked incredibly decisive, but had by far the better of the second half. Full-back Lukasz Piszczek was a constant threat down Poland’s right side. The Dortmund star was no doubt the home side’s best player on the night.
Despite opening the scoring for England striker Wayne Rooney endured a poor night. He toiled all night without much reward and missed a great chance to put England two goals up in the second half.
At one point he was asked to play on the left-side of the England midfield and as always did a job for the team, but he never truly looked comfortable and was replaced by young midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with just under 20 minutes remaining.
The Manchester United striker never seems to be able to reproduce his best form for England. He scores crucial goals, but at times his all round play is poor. However, that was the case with most of the England team last night and I wouldn’t just single out Rooney.
This group was hailed as an ‘easy group’ for England to qualify from and it could turn out to be that way in the end. The trip to Poland was always going to be difficult and Poland are no mugs.
They are not a San Marino or Moldova. These are professional players playing at a high level of football. Two of their best players last night Lukasz Piszczek and Robert Lewandowski were part of the Dortmund team that outplayed Manchester City in the Champions League a few weeks ago.
Montenegro have also emerged as challengers for qualification. Montenegro came back from two goals down in the last qualification campaign for the European Championships to draw 2-2 with England.
Like Poland some of their players are also playing in top leagues around Europe. They will prove a threat to England in the group. However, qualification is in England’s hands. The Three Lions still have to play Montenegro twice and Poland at home.
The hardest game of the group is out of the way and England must now be happy with a point and move on. I’m sure everybody within the England setup will learn lessons from this game that could prove valuable in the future, including England keeper Joe Hart.
The main lesson that must be taken from games like this is just because we are England we can’t just expect to go out there and win no matter how poor the performance.
If England continues to play like this they may still qualify for the World Cup in 2014, but once they get to the tournament it will probably be yet another disappointing early exit from the competition.
If they fail to qualify then it will prove that the team isn’t good enough and it will be back to the drawing board for the Three Lions. Overall though I don’t think anybody can sniff at a point in Poland, it could prove a vital point in the final group reckoning.
Was a draw in Poland a good result for England under the circumstances?
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