Roy Hodgson has praised his England team’s performance when they scored four second-half goals to beat Montenegro 4-1 and take them one step closer to the World Cup in Brazil next year.
After a tense first-half where the Three Lions struggled to break down a resilient Montenegro defence, it took an inspired substitution by Hodgson, bringing on debutant Andros Townsend to spark the team into life.
England can now grab an automatic place to next year’s World Cup with a win and avoid the dreaded play-off when they meet Poland in their final qualifier on Tuesday.
“At least the knife is removed from our throat,” said Hodgson.
“Had we drawn or lost, with Ukraine winning, it would have been a major problem."
“If the very worst happens now and we, for some reason, can’t reproduce this performance or do badly, we still have a chance of getting to the World Cup."
“That was important for us.”
“We don’t count on using that vehicle,” he said.
“We have given ourselves a slight margin for error but we count on beating Poland and getting there under our own steam as top of the group,” he concluded.