Roy Hodgson defended his England team following its 1-1 draw against Montenegro in Podgarica, saying that the Three Lions are still in control of their World Cup destiny. The draw left England in second-place in UEFA World Cup qualifying Group H, two points behind Montenegro with 12 points.
"It's still in our hands - we have to play Montenegro at home, Poland at home and Ukraine away," Hodgson said after the game. "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."
Captain Steven Gerrard said that England paid the price for not finishing off its opponent in the first half. "We controlled the game. The problem is at 1-0 you're always vulnerable,” the Liverpool midfielder said. “You've got to go on and get the second goal to get complete control and we never did that. We stopped playing after the break for 20 or 30 minutes and, away from home, you just can't afford to do that. We stopped passing the ball, and that's when we lost control, and I think they deserved the equalizer."
England got off to a flying start with Wayne Rooney chipping the ball against the post in the opening stages before heading home a Gerrard corner at the far post after six minutes. Montenegro looked disorganized and out of ideas in the first half but came out a different team after halftime. Pushed on by raucous home support, the underdog got its equalizer 13 minutes from time, as substitute Dejan Damjanovic tapped home from a goalmouth scramble following aStefan Jovetic corner.