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Roy Hodgson Defends England’s Dour Display In Ukraine

Three Lions remain top of Group H with now just two qualifiers left to play. 

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England head coach Roy Hodgson said that he was happy with his side’s performance in their goalless draw against Ukraine in Kiev in their FIFA World Cup qualifier on Tuesday night, despite the Three Lions’ display coming in for some fierce criticism by the media, reports BBC Sport Online.

The point that the visitors secured in the Olympic stadium has kept Hodgson’s men at the top of Group H, with now just two qualifiers left to play on the road to next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.

England finish their campaign with fixtures against third-placed Montenegro and fourth-in-the-table Poland, both at Wembley Stadium next month, and if they can record back-to-back home wins in those ties, then the Three Lions will be guaranteed a place in South America next year.

However, the England manager was forced to defend his side’s negative approach in the Ukrainian capital during his post-match press conference, saying: “Before the game, the feeling among a lot of people was that a draw would be a good result.

“I’m surprised to hear what I thought was a good performance and result might be being seen as an underwhelming performance.

“Our attacking options were very limited because we were without Rooney, Welbeck and Sturridge.

“We also lost a top midfield player in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain [because of a knee injury] and I thought those players who took their places did a remarkable job.”

Tuesday evening’s stalemate in Kiev was actually the first time since England drew a blank against Italy in the last eight of Euro 2012 that Hodgson’s team had failed to find the back of the net, a run consisting of their last 14 internationals, while the Three Lions are also now unbeaten in qualifying games for the past four years, stretching back to their 1-0 loss in Ukraine in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup finals.

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