Cahill aims to be defensive rock

17 October 2013 08:31

Gary Cahill insists England's World Cup campaign will be built on a rock-solid defensive foundation.

England booked their ticket to Brazil on Tuesday night with a nail-biting 2-0 win over Poland at Wembley.

For the third time in four games Cahill and centre-back partner Phil Jagielka helped Joe Hart keep a clean sheet, although it would have been a different story had Robert Lewandowski not fluffed his lines.

Roy Hodgson initially struggled to deal with the retirement of defensive stalwart John Terry, but Cahill and Jagielka are now clearly his first-choice partnership after the pair started the past six games.

Hodgson will have the chance to try out new combinations in the coming months, but Cahill thinks he and Jagielka have hit it off at the back.

"It is going well," the Chelsea defender said.

"In the past few games we have got three clean sheets, we are improving and know each other's games a lot better now.

"The Poland game was not really one where you were trying to bring it down on your chest, try Cruyff turns, zig-zag passes, or things like that, sometimes you have to dig in and just defend.

"We did that and let the more creative lads create chances, which they did. We are getting better and better.

"Defensively I thought we were solid against Poland."

The over-riding emotion after the final whistle was relief after a tense night in which 18,000-plus Poland fans made the atmosphere more like Warsaw than Wembley.

Now England can turn their attention towards the carnival that will be a Brazil World Cup.

Cahill made his international debut after the 2010 World Cup and had to withdraw from Euro 2012 because of a broken jaw.

He is desperate to feature in Brazil and will do everything he can to make sure he remains Hodgson's first-choice come June.

"I tried to stop thinking about the World Cup before these two games, but now I can start to think about it and look forward to it," the former Bolton man said.

"The World Cup is something you look forward to as a player, if I was to go it would be my first tournament. I am delighted.

"We have done it and we are very proud.

"We were celebrating in the dressing room afterwards, it was a great feeling."

Source: PA