Date:Monday October 15 2012
England's 1973 draw with Poland and subsequent failure to qualify for the 1974 World Cup, was probably the first memory of international football I remember. I don't actually recall the match, perhaps didn't even see it as I would have only just passed my 7th birthday, but it was a game that had huge ramifications for England and our national side, as that failure saw the end of Sir Alf Ramsey's time in charge and would be another eight years before England were to qualify again.
In between England's failure and Jan Tomaszewski's elevation to cult status and national hero, Poland haven't beaten England since the home leg of that World cup group. Neither country have had any consistent success, but perhaps Poland feel they have a basis of a very decent side that might go on to emulate the sides that achieved unexpected 3rd place finishes in both those 74 and 82 World Cups, whilst if we look closely enough, also managing to somehow rub English noses in the dirt.
Today, with the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Poland will feel that they have the quality to beat England once again. In truth neither side are playing great football or would bring fear to the games current best nations, but this tie will certainly test Roy Hodgson's ability to get the best out of an England side that sadly looks a very long way from challenging for World Cups or European Championships, and for many, the dream of even doing well is fading with every tournaments failure.
Watching England frustrate more than inspire against San Marino, there still has to be hope that this bunch of players have at least the quality to get past what would seem a pretty average group, even if we expect little or nothing in Brazil in twenty months time. Ukraine Montenegro and Poland are all reasonable sides, but am I still stupidly over rating England by believing we are superior and should be too strong and qualification is ours to lose? I suppose my dad thought the same in 1973.
England will could make as many as six changes from the side that beat San Marino last Friday. Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson will probably step in for Cleverley and Walker, whilst you assume that both Joleon Lescott and Ashley Cole will return at the back and James Milner will be a more solid replacement for the injured Theo Walcott. It will be interesting to see if Jermain Defoe gets the start over Danny Welbeck, which for me would be the right move, despite the United man getting two goals in his last game, San Marino or not.
With Ukraine surprisingly dropping two points against Moldova, a win for England will put them in a great position going into the New Year. Oleg Blokhin's side have an opportunity to recover ground should they beat Montenegro at home, but whilst defeat for any one of the main four wouldn't be the end of the world, is would surely add huge pressure for qualification, which in England's case in particular would be seen as half done with 3 points in Poland's national stadium tomorrow...
Date:Monday October 15 2012
Delfouneso Replaces McManaman (Monday May 20 2013)
Carroll Worthy Of Return (Monday May 20 2013)
McManaman Ruled Out (Saturday May 18 2013)
Captain Cole? (Saturday May 18 2013)
Dream Come True For McCarthy (Saturday May 18 2013)
Pearce On His Squad (Saturday May 18 2013)
England squad announced. (Thursday May 16 2013)
ITV Secure England Games (Thursday May 16 2013)
Another Young Coach Earmarked (Wednesday May 15 2013)
Ferdinand (Finally) Calls Time On England (Wednesday May 15 2013)
|Delfouneso Replaces McManaman
» England : 20/05/2013 11:49:00
|Carroll Worthy Of Return
» England : 20/05/2013 10:31:00
|McManaman Ruled Out
» England : 18/05/2013 14:05:00
» England : 18/05/2013 11:22:00
|Dream Come True For McCarthy
» England : 18/05/2013 10:43:00
|Pearce On His Squad
» England : 18/05/2013 10:15:00
|England squad announced.
» England : 16/05/2013 16:29:00