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Resilient Roy remains upbeat

If Roy Hodgson gets sucked in with some of the negativity surrounding England's failure to beat Montenegro, then what chance have England got?

As leader, Hodgson has a belief that he is capable of getting the best out of his players, individually and as a team.

It's easy to find negatives about the result and second half performance - but there were plenty of positives too.

For 45 minutes, England made group leaders Montenegro look second rate. They were a class above. The hosts came out fighting in the second half and a draw was probably a fair result in the end.

A much hyped negative point that has come out of Tuesday night's 1-1 draw in Podgorica is that England still haven't beaten any of their main qualification rivals.

But, when that was put to him in a post-match interview, Hodgson deflected some of the negativity by pointing out that England have played Montenegro and Poland away - and that three of their remaining four qualifiers are at home.

Priority

Hodgson has been building an England squad and, while qualification for the World Cup is the priority, he has also been preparing for Brazil on the basis that his side have a decent chance of getting there.

So he doesn't buy into the fickle opinions that saw England's world ranking slump in the space of 45 second half minutes in Montenegro.

England are two points adrift of Montenegro but with three home games to come - including the return fixture against Tuesday's opponents. Finishing top of the group and avoiding the play-offs is still the aim for Hodgson's men.

"It's still in our hands - we have to play Montenegro at home, Poland at home and Ukraine away," he said.

"We have three of our four games at home, so we will try to make certain we keep it in our hands by winning those."

He added: "In the second half we lost our control and Montenegro had a good spell, took the game to us, forced a lot of corners and one resulted in their equaliser.

"My overall feeling is one of disappointment because things looked good for us at half-time, but it is not a bad result because Montenegro are a difficult team to beat."

England's remaining World Cup qualifiers:

6 Sept: Moldova (h)

10 Sept: Ukraine (a)

11 Oct: Montenegro (h)

15 Oct: Poland (h)


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