Brian GlanvilleEngland escaped. You could hardly put it more charitably than that. Ukraine struck a spectacular goal and if a defensive mistake initially gave the ball away, it cannot be denied that the spectacular scorer, Yehen Konoplianka, almost casually stepped across Steven Gerrard before hitting his remarkable right footed drive.

Alas, after the Moldovan stroll, it was back to realities for Roy Hodgson’s England. Should an always combative and lively Jermaine Defoe have been refused his disallowed goal? Hard to decide who really fouled whom. But it was sadly significant that until Danny Welbeck came on, initially and perplexingly stuck out on the left wing, England were largely firing blanks. Not least in the disappointing shape of Tom Cleverley, looking anything but the player England so badly need in central midfield.

Only when Welbeck decided to move into the middle, where he should surely been from the first and where one hopes to see him in the future did England seem likely to save a game in which Ukraine with quick, clever, inventive football had embarrassed them in the first half: when a player of the ilk of Scott Parker was badly needed.

Should Gerrard have been dismissed? Another moot point. His first yellow card was surely deserved the second arguable. Hodgson put as brave a face on it as possible, but Oleg Blokhin had every reason to be pleased with his gifted team, and was perhaps excessively charitable to England.

By Brian Glanville

  • pepe

    Gerrard and Lampard are the “future” of England? Maybe Mr Hodgson has to be brave and go ahead to the next step.