England v Montenegro –
Final Score/Result: England 4-1 Montenegro
Man Of The Match: Andros Townsend
Ronney, Sturridge and Townsend Score as England grabbed a crucial win moving one step closer to gaining qualification for the World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
This was a must win game for both the sides, especially the visitors, who started the match just one point behind England at the top of the table. But their hopes of qualifying have been severely dented as England produced a wonderful performance at home. With Ukraine winning their game in this round, Montenegro are virtually out of contention. England are now assured of a place in the play-off and but will need to win their game against Poland to qualify directly to the World Cup.
England started the first half brightly and created numerous opportunities, but the cross bar and Montenegro goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic prevented them from taking the lead. But the home side finally got their reward early on the second half as Wayne Rooney scored from close range. Poleksic saved the initial effort from Danny Welbeck, but the ball fell kindly for Rooney, who continued his impressive form this season.
The lead was quickly doubled as Danny Welbeck’s low cross from the left was turned in by Branko Boskovic for an own goal. The midfielder’s attempted clearance went horribly wrong as the ball went in off the outside of his right foot. But to Montenegro’s credit, they showed some spirit after conceding that goal and pulled it back to 2-1 as Dejan Damjanovic turned in Beqiraj’s attempted shot from close range. The game was being played at a frantic pace at his point and England once again restored their two goal lead, just seven minutes after conceding the goal as Andres Townsend scored from a wonderful right footed shot. It was a deserved goal for the Tottenham winger, who was a constant threat throughout the game.
In the closing moments of the match Montenegro conceded a penalty as Daniel Sturridge was fouled by Ivan Kecojevic. Rooney handed over the spot kick duty to the Liverpool striker for this one and he obliged with a calm finish.
England manager Roy Hodgson was full of praise for Andros Townsend and the massive impact he had on this game. But the former Liverpool manager also sounded cautious and insisted that the job is only half done.
‘It’s slightly less of a knife against our throat. We agonised over selecting Andros Townsend, we argued back and forth.
‘To leave people like Jack Wilshere and James Milner out wasn’t easy. He made a big impact and he got man of the match. It can’t be easy for a young player making his debut in a game of this nature, but he deserves credit.
‘He played with a calmness and composure I’ve seen when he’s played for QPR and Tottenham.
‘Our third, which he scored, was the most important goal because it restored our two goal margin. When they scored out of the blue it was a game again, but Andros took the wind out of their sails.’ – The England manager said.
But with Ukraine winning their match against Poland, the England manager knows that his side will have to win their last game of this group in order to qualify directly.
‘The message is to get the job done. We know that. The job’s half done.
‘We want to qualify direct, so we need to win against Poland. That won’t be easy. That’ll be difficult.
‘They played very well in Ukraine in the first half, and had the better opportunities. If they play as well as they did in that first half, it’ll be a tough game.
‘I always back the players. I trust the players. Nine games now and we’re still unbeaten in qualifying.
‘We’re capable of going unbeaten through the 10th, and with the backing of the fans and playing with the talent we have, I’d be foolish not to back the players.
‘There was anxiety at 0-0, but things opened up when we did.’ – He added.
England v Montenegro – Statistics
Andros Townsend made a dream start to this England career as he scored his side’s third goal and helped in setting up the goal for Wayne Rooney. The Tottenham winger was a constant threat down the right as he drifted in and created space for others. The above heat map shows his positioning and movement on the pitch.