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Dozy England escape with a draw

England’s World Cup qualifier with Poland was eventually played a day late after postponement for rain. A lacklustre England could count themselves a little fortunate to escape with a point.

A first-half header from Wayne Rooney gave England the lead, but they rarely looked comfortable. Poland equalised in the second half and Roy Hodgson’s side retreated en masse to defend their point in a nervous last 20 minutes.

The England players looked listless, and some blamed the disruption to their normal pre-match preparation caused by the postponement. "When you're fired up, pumped up, you've had your massages and you're ready to go, that's not ideal, but we're professionals," the captain Steven Gerrad said. "I didn't think we were totally at the races. I won't use the delay and conditions as an excuse. The reason we didn't win was because we didn't pass it when we went in front."

Hodgson was unimpressed by the performance after the easy victory against San Marino. "I had the impression earlier in the week that the players were looking sharp and lively. I didn't have that impression today. I don't know if that's due to the extra night, the sodden pitch or that we didn't play well on the day. There are days when you don't hit the heights."

He took some consolation from the facts that England continued their unbeaten run to 11 games and that they remain in a strong position in the qualifying group. Gerrard and Ashley Cole both gained their 99th cap for their country.

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