Gareth Southgate insists he was RIGHT not to make subs, despite England squandering the stoppage time lead against resurgent Poland (who made FIVE!) to lose 100% qualifying record
- England got an equalizer in injury time and a 1-1 draw with Poland
- Result ended England’s five-game winning run in World Cup qualifiers
- England appeared to have won the match with an attack from Harry Kane in the 72nd minute
- But Poland, after making five changes, recovered in stoppage time to take the point
- Gareth Southgate defended his decision not to make changes despite late strike
Gareth Southgate defended his decision not to make substitutions as a last gasp the equalizing goal slowed down England’s quest for the World Cup final.
The England head coach in Warsaw called a very different team to the one that defeated Andorra 4-0 at Wembley on Sunday, but Southgate resisted the chance to put new legs on the final stage of this Group I clash against Poland.
It led to Damian Szymanski looting the equalizing goal in the 92nd minute, undoing Harry Kane’s 41st international goal. Poland made five substitutions to get back into the game, but Southgate, whose team remains unbeaten, was satisfied with his decision.
England boss Gareth Southgate has defended his call not to make subs against Poland
England withered in stoppage time by conceding a last-minute equalizer to their Group I rivals
England players face dejectedness after discarding a stoppage time lead in Warsaw
Southgate said: “We were in full control and to bring players to that moment where everyone was performing at a good level and we were in control of possession can put players in the position that needed to be in position and not so easily.
“There were a few times we looked at it, but we did well, no problems. We intended to refresh the wide players to finish the clock, but we gave in before we could get them. That is not a good time to implement changes.’
There was a flash point towards the end of the first half when Kamil Glik appeared to grab Kyle Walker, an incident that infuriated the England players. Harry Maguire was booked along with Glik and this will be further reviewed by match officials.
England captain Harry Kane revealed the FA is investigating an incident before halftime in which Poland’s Kamil Glik appeared to grab Kyle Walker’s neck
The incident led to a clash between Glik and Maguire after the whistle sounded for halftime
Both players were cautioned for causing the melee at halftime in the World Cup qualifier
England captain Kane said: “There was an incident reported to the FA boys just before half-time. They sort it out and investigate and we move on from there.
“Something would have been done, not said. We don’t have a chance to look at the footage and talk to the boy.’
Southgate, meanwhile, was left to lament England’s failure to push through their second-period dominance. They appeared to hold their 100 percent record when Kane flashed a 30-meter drive, but they were caught in stoppage time.
“It was no surprise that this was the toughest game in the group,” said Southgate, whose side will face Hungary and Andorra next month. “At the beginning of the game we were a bit slow to move the ball and Poland put a lot of pressure on us.
Kane had given England the lead with a sensational 30m drive in the 72nd minute
While Kane’s goal wasn’t enough for the win, England are still in a healthy spot at the top of the group as they remain on track to qualify for next year’s World Cup final in Qatar
“We were caught a few times in our own half, but we recovered well and defended those situations well. As the half progressed we got a grip on the game and gained more control without really creating any clear chances – except for Harry Kane’s header to the far post.
“We controlled the game in the second half. If there is criticism, it is that we have not created enough clear chances from that possession and that we have not gotten enough players in the penalty area.
“While it’s one-zero, you run the risk of what happened in the end. We are clearly disappointed that we didn’t get the three points, but I have to look at what the players have done in these three games.”