England’s Hodgson fears the spirit of 1973

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London Forty years ago, the Polish keeper at Wembley Stadium, in what was then a 1-1 draw, single-handedly ensured that the Three Lions missed the 1974 final in Germany. All of England are now shaking off the fact that the Poles could once again become spoilers of the game. England’s national coach Roy Hodgson warns of Tuesday’s crucial duel against the opponent and the “spirit of ’73.” “I can’t imagine Poland taking his foot off the gas. They are a very strong team. They will try to win the game and achieve just as good a result as they did 40 years ago,” the 66-year-old told The Sun. Those who believe in evil spirits can fear even more: a failure in qualification would mean that England will be missing a World Cup for the fourth time after their first World Cup appearance in 1950. The Three Lions went missing in 1974 and 1994. And 2014? The 20-year rhythm does not exactly offer hope. The starting position in Group H is clear: leaders England desperately need a win to guarantee direct qualification. In the event of a draw or defeat, persecutor ukraine would most likely pass. The second place in the table is only one point behind and faces the easiest of all conceivable tasks in San Marino. Since 2004, the hosts have lost every single game. Poland has no chance of a final after Friday’s 0-1 defeat in Ukraine. The prospects of Montenegro are only theoretical. The game at Wembley Stadium will not be a self-running event. Hodgson knows the quality of the opponent: “They are very well organised and have two world-class players in Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski. We will be prepared for everything┬╗. Experts also believe Poland is a tougher opponent than Montenegro in last Friday’s 4-1 success. Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, meanwhile, gives England little hope that his team will let qualification run out. “We come to Wembley to attack, attack and score goals,” the Dortmund player told the Daily Star. Clearly encouraged by the debut of 22-year-old Andros Townsend on Friday, Hodgson continues to rely on the youngster. He named 18-year-old Rahmeel Sterling for the injured Tom Cleverley and the suspended Kyle Walker. Outfielder Ashley Cole continues to work on a rib injury that has already sidelined him against Montenegro. Cole is expected to be replaced by Leighton Baines. Striker star Wayne Rooney praised the coach, who has recently been criticised for his over-caution, for his new courage. “We have some promising young players in the squad. It’s exciting for the future,” Rooney said, referring to Daniel Sturridge, Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley and Townsend. Meanwhile, the matchwinner of the Montenegro game left no doubt that he wants to drive the evil spirits of ’73 out of Wembley Stadium. “We’ll come back on Tuesday and do the rest,” the winger had said on Friday, knowing full well that only half of the job had been done so far and that the Poles had already become spoilers.

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