Saturday 20 January 2018

Frustration for Capello as England held

England 0
Montenegro 0

Henry Winter

The world's newest footballing nation, a country of only 650,000 souls, last night embarrassed England, the self-styled motherland of the game.

Fabio Capello's side were too sluggish, too lacking in ideas against Montenegro, who remain three points clear at the top of Euro 2012 qualifying Group G, having played a game more than England.

The manager was rightly enraged that the hosts did not receive a penalty when Milan Jovanovic clearly handled but Montenegro went closest when Jovanovic almost broke Joe Hart's bar.

This was a desperately disappointing performance and result; only Adam Johnson impressed and Steven Gerrard, stripped of the captaincy, seemed particularly subdued.

England had laboured through the first half, departing to a flurry of boos by supporters frustrated at their inability to break down the massed red ranks, though the recalled Peter Crouch should have done better with Glen Johnson's cross when unmarked.

Capello must have had strong words at the break because England came out in far more assertive fashion.

Gerrard flashed across goal, Wayne Rooney got himself booked and was then denied by a superb one-handed save from Mladen Bozovic.

Montenegro's keeper was far the busier, also making an exceptional save from Gareth Barry.

"It is not easy to play against a team that plays like Montenegro because they defended well and deep, always waiting close to their box," lamented Capello.

Irish Independent

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