The England manager is one win away from leading them to Brazil, but has his strategy in certain games made things precarious?
Everything comes down to tonight’s game for Roy Hodgson and England. Win and they will be hailed for having fought a very successful World Cup qualification campaign, if they lose and have to rely on other results – maybe even a play-off match, then Hodgson’s future in the England hotseat will be under the microscope.
The games England have been expected to win comfortably, they have done so against San Marino and Moldova. 12 points and 22 goals scored, and none conceded is what you would expect from England in those fixtures.
It looks as if Hodgson’s strategy throughout the qualification campaign has been not to lose – certainly away from home, apart from against the opposition that has already been mentioned.
Those that have been regarded as the more ‘challenging’ in the shape of trips to Montenegro, Poland and Ukraine – though England have let leads slip in two of those games and come away with draws, whilst Roy’s boys were criticised for their performance in Ukraine, despite the England manager describing it as ‘good.’
It may have been good in the sense of hanging, drawing and quartering the game but nothing else – and Hodgson will point out that ultimately they had the desired effect, though the inability to hold onto leads in both Montenegro and Poland must have irked him a bit even if he do go on the defensive after leading at the interval.
But with Hodgson’s hand being forced a little in the last game against Montenegro, and showing that he does have the necessary quality within the England set-up to play some good attacking football, despite those who like to label the current crop as the worst since Euro 92.
One game where Hodgson wants his side to play a little out of the manager’s comfort zone is one thing, two on the bounce could almost be viewed as revolutionary – and Poland possibly have the most dangerous attacking threat in the group with Robert Lewandowski. If he hurts England tonight, there will be question marks over the whole campaign – especially given England’s inability to win games back-to-back in this campaign.
A lot of Hodgson’s 38-year reputation that he likes to talk about rides on the outcome of tonight’s game.
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