Roy Hodgson has admitted he is worried ahead of England’s final World Cup qualifier against Poland on Tuesday, Sky
England need to beat Poland to ensure a place at Brazil 2014, with a draw or a defeat likely to hand automatic qualification to Ukraine, who play minnows San Marino. Should England slip to second place they will still have a chance of progressing to the World Cup by entering the play-offs, and Hodgson believes it is natural to have doubts so close to kick-off.
“I’m a worrier,” he said. “Anyone who works in football is a worrier. It won’t be my best night’s sleep because all of my waking thoughts are around England versus Poland. It’s not good we’ve got to wait until Tuesday evening for it.
“But I have great faith and trust in the players. I couldn’t be putting a stronger or more confident bunch of players onto the field. But football is not a science. Things can happen in games you don’t want to happen.”
England have endured fraught final games in qualification before, usually coming out with the result required, such as in 1997 when a battling draw in Italy sent Glenn Hoddle’s Three Lions to the following year’s World Cup. Hodgson spent time with Hoddle prior to the deciding fixture and recognises a similar mindset in his team to the 1997 side.
“His approach was probably like ours: ‘I’ve got a good England team that’s capable of producing a result’,” Hodgson added. “If it comes off (on Tuesday night) and you get what you want, you must get a tremendous feeling of pride and satisfaction which I’ll share with Steven Gerrard, hopefully, if we’ve won it…We’ve prepared. We’re ready. Bring it on.”
England are so far unbeaten in Group H, having won five and drawn four of their nine games. They lead Ukraine by a point, 19 to 18, and have a far superior goal difference.
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