England struggles in World Cup qualifier against Montenegro

28/03/2013 no comments »
England struggles in World Cup qualifier against Montenegro

England struggled in their World Cup qualifying campaign as they threw away a 1-0 lead to Montenegro.

Montenegro were top of the group with 13 points, whilst England were sitting in second on 11 points – therefore a win for England would have taken them on 14 points and in first place. Finishing top of the group can be vital in World Cup qualifiers as the team finishing second may have to go into a play-off with other nations who finished second within their group so ensure reaching the World Cup finals.

Once the game kicked off England couldn’t off asked for a better start, Wayne Rooney hit a distant chipped shot which left the goalkeeper a spectator – fortunately for him the shot hit the wrong side of the post and bounced back out. England had started as if they meant business. The reward wasn’t too far away as with just six minutes on the clock, the deadlock was broken. Skipper Steven Gerrard whipped in an out swinging corner which was meant by the head of Wayne Rooney and this time gave the keeper no chance. It looked like it was going to be a demolition job for England, however, that wasn’t the case.

The second half got under way and all the pressure was coming from the home side. Montenegro pressed and pressed and was beginning to have a series of chances of their own. The first warning signs for England came when a powerful shot straight at Joe Hart left him fumbling and nearly knocking the ball into his own net. Hart then redeemed himself by pulling off a string of saves keeping his side in it. Montenegro then hit the post themselves, yet it was looking like England would be able to weather the storm.

Montenegro was awarded a corner in the 76th minute which resulted in a huge scramble in the England penalty area with Danny Welbeck failing to clear the ball before substitute Damjanovic put the ball in the net – 1-1. Both sides then had chances to win the game, although Montenegro’s best chance would have been very unfortunate when Steven Gerrard attempted to clear the ball which got reflected by Vucinic and almost lobbed Joe Hart. Englands best chance was their very last one and again it was Steven Gerrard. Gerrard shot a last minute free-kick almost into the top left corner, but the Montenegro keeper managed to pull of a great save in order to keep the match at 1-1.

The game leaves England in second place still 2 points behind Montenegro with four games remaining.

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