Hodgson relieved by Montenegro win

12 October 2013 03:46

Roy Hodgson is relieved to have escaped the dagger being plunged into his World Cup dream and is now aiming to leap straight to Brazil without the need of a safety net.

When England emerged for the second-half of their Wembley encounter with Montenegro on Friday night they were in a spot of bother.

Being held goalless by some stubborn defence, Hodgson by that stage knew Ukraine had beaten Poland.

Had his team failed to respond, the 66-year-old could have kissed goodbye to automatic qualification and gone into Tuesday's final qualifier with Poland knowing victory was required just to reach the play-offs.

A win is still preferable next week but only because it would avoid having to take the hazardous play-off path to South America next summer.

After debutant Andros Townsend starred in what turned out to be an excellent 4-1 win, that is the very worst case scenario for England now.

"At least the knife is removed from our throat," said Hodgson. "Had we drawn or lost, with Ukraine winning, it would have been a major problem.

"If the very worst happens now and we, for some reason, can't reproduce this performance or do badly, we still have a chance of getting to the World Cup. That was important for us."

Not that Hodgson is intending to take advantage of the extra life.

"We don't count on using that vehicle," he said.

Source: PA