x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Hart holds hands up as England take heart in Poland draw

The goalkeeper failed to make contact when he came to punch clear a corner which allowed Kamil Glik head in and cancel out Wayne Rooney's first-half opener.

England goalkeeper Joe Hart, centre, said he was at fault when Kamil Glik, second from right, helped Poland draw level in Warsaw.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart, centre, said he was at fault when Kamil Glik, second from right, helped Poland draw level in Warsaw.

Joe Hart took the blame for conceding the equalising goal as England had to be content with a 1-1 draw from their delayed World Cup qualifier against Poland yesterday.

The Manchester City goalkeeper failed to make contact when he came to punch clear a corner which allowed Kamil Glik head in and cancel out Wayne Rooney's first-half opener with 20 minutes left.

"I came and didn't get there and the lad did a decent header," Hart told ITV.

"It's my fault, I should have punched it or stayed in goal. I didn't do either and it cost us."

Regarding the result, Hart said: "We've got to believe that's a good point. It's a tough place to come."

The Group H qualifier that went ahead a day late after Tuesday's scheduled kick-off was called off because of a waterlogged pitch.

Yesterday, as the sun beamed down, the stadium roof remained shut.

Roy Hodgson, the England boss, conceded the performance was one of his side's worst since he took charge in the summer.

Despite that, the point kept England top of the standings and Hodgson believes it could be vital when the group is decided.

"I don't think it was one of our better performances," he said.

"There were lots of factors for that situation.

"It was a soggy pitch, a pitch suited to long balls rather than a passing game. There was also the extra 36 hours or whatever we've had to stay after the rain yesterday.

"Having said that I'm pleased with the point. I think a point here away when the group is decided next October may be good."

Asked if his side gave away possession too cheaply, he said: "We gave the ball away a number of times but so did the Polish. We can excuse the players because of surface.

"It wasn't one of our better performances but we did get the result. It does give me heart that we still showed character."

Steven Gerrard, the England captain, said Poland had adapted to pitch conditions better than England.

"I thought they handled the pitch better than us, which is disappointing but we're not going to grumble," he said.

"We're disappointed not to take three points and our points tally at this stage could be better.

"But a point here is not a bad result."

He added: "It's a decent point but we are disappointed. We know we can play better. We should have seen the game out but I still believe this will be a good point at the end of the day."

Rooney sent Poland's morale sinking 15 minutes before half-time in the 58,000-capacity Kazimierz Gorski Stadium, heading in a corner from Gerrard for his 30th goal in an England shirt.

Poland's answer came in the 70th minute, thanks to the Torino defender Glik.

A Ludovic Obraniak corner found Glik as Hart came for the ball and was left stranded.

The World Cup now goes into hibernation for five months before England visit Montenegro on March 26 while Poland are at home to San Marino on the same night.

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