FIFA World Cup qualifier: England and Poland play out a 1-1 draw
Twenty hours later than planned, England`s World Cup 2014 qualifier away in Poland produced an equally less-than-ideal performance to earn a 1-1 draw.
Wayne Rooney`s scrappy goal from a first-half corner was cancelled out by Kamil Glik`s reply from a corner of the hosts` own in the second period, in a game rescheduled from Tuesday due to a waterlogged pitch.
Both sides lined up with the same teams that had been named the day before, with Roy Hodgson deploying Tom Cleverley in an unfamiliar starting role on the left of midfield in a 4-4-2 formation.
After a damp start to proceedings and with the ball slightly stodgily moving across the pitch, Poland might have had the lead in the ninth minute. Jakub Wawrzyniak`s low cross into the area reached Kamil Grosicki but the midfielder`s first-time effort on his left foot was scuffed.
England were struggling to keep the ball past the halfway line with some lazy passes. Their greatest threat – such as it was – in the first half-hour came through James Milner, getting forward on the right a little more than usual and nearly picking out Jermain Defoe at the near post.
Eventually they took the lead, though, through Rooney. The striker made up for an off-colour opening 30 minutes by nodding in a Steven Gerrard corner. It came off his shoulder as much as his head but was still a vital break for the under-par visitors.
Poland kept coming, Grosicki picking up a brilliant flicked pass forward from the dangerous Robert Lewandowski and firing his snapshot just wide in the area, but England`s advantage held to half-time.
Immediately after the break, Glen Johnson bailed Phil Jagielka out when the Everton man`s disastrous touch in the area nearly let Lewandowski in. Moments later, Joe Hart had to leap in order to deny Ludovic Obraniak`s long-range thumper. England were defending deep and somewhat desperately, with Lukas Piszczek spearheading sustained opposition attacks.
Defoe, isolated in the second half, was robbed by Glik at close range shortly after the hour before being replaced by Danny Welbeck. The substitute looked to have teed up Rooney for a second as he drew Przemyslaw Tyton out of position but the Manchester United man blasted over messily.
And England were suitably punished as Poland earned a corner at the other end and Glik, let in by Hart`s ill-advised attempt to punch the ball, headed home.
With the disappointing Rooney replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the home crowd sensed a winner and Glik came up to try for a second at another corner but headed over.
England remained on the back foot but had moments of threat at the other end, Milner flashing another cross across the face of goal upon which Welbeck nearly pounced and Oxlade-Chamberlain offering some much-needed pace.
To sneak all three points would have flattered Hodgson`s men, however, and the end of the match did indeed come without a further breakthrough for either side.