Rio draw boosts Hodgson morale

03 June 2013 05:17

Roy Hodgson thinks England stand a much better chance of qualifying for the World Cup following their morale-boosting draw against Brazil.

For 45 minutes Brazil battered England in the Maracana, but they did not submit and they would have come away with an historic win had it not been for Paulinho's 82nd-minute strike, which meant the game ended 2-2.

A Montenegro win over Ukraine on Friday night will send the Balkan nation five points ahead of England at the top of Group H, but Hodgson said: "When you can win at home and draw away against one of the world's top teams, one of the clear favourites for the World Cup, that has to give us confidence going into those autumn games, making it a better proposition for us in terms of (qualification)."

He continued: "We can feel confident that we have the wherewithal to win those (four remaining qualifying) matches and get here next year. We are all so desperate to get to the World Cup. Nothing we have done or seen has diminished our desire in that respect."

A year has now passed since Hodgson was parachuted into his position just before the start of Euro 2012.

The former Liverpool manager has only tasted defeat twice during that period, but given the number of draws (six) he has experienced during his 17-match reign, Hodgson acknowledges that his team are very much a "work in progress".

But with Jack Wilshere, Steven Gerrard and the likes of Tom Cleverley, Kyle Walker and Daniel Sturridge to come back from injury, there is plenty of reason for optimism.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wayne Rooney both scored wonder goals against Luiz Felipe Scolari's side and Frank Lampard, who has been in and around the England squad for the last 14 years, is in a confident mood about the squad's future.

"I think we are in good shape," said the Chelsea midfielder, who captained England at the Maracana. "I feel confident. It's up to us where we go from here now. We need to keep improving.

"We keep talking about the youngsters, they are pivotal in us moving forward. I think we are moving forward but it's up to us now to go and show it. We keep talking about it but we need to go and show it next year."

Source: PA