When playing at Wembley there is an expectation of a solid, impressive performance, and if you only look at results and stats, then goals are what you see. England in all forms have yet to lose and the England 1st team at the new Wembley have yet to not score, But tonight they didn’t look like winning or scoring.
England started off well, keeping possession well, but was unable to get much goal wards. Gerrard played some great ball for Young and Johnson showed why he deserves a start with bright runs. But as the half progressed the more frustrated England seemed to get as Montenegro’s defence stood firm, and did well on the counter attack. The crowd soon started to get bored with England as they seemed to revert back to knocking the ball long and hoping something comes of it. Adam Johnson made a few runs down the right, and had a free kick go near and near the end of the half, half chances is all England saw. Rooney still seems out-of-place. And with Montenegro playing deep it seems strange that the England back line are not pushing up to keep possession tight and keep pressure on Montenegro.
The second half came but unfortunately the same England came out, and the same style of play too. But unfortunately that soon was missed as it progressively got worse, there wasn’t any real conviction in front of goal and as hurried England way crept back in. With no one seeming wanting to keep the ball because as soon as they got it, all they seemed to want to do was get it away. There didn’t seem to be any thought to where the pass was going to go, but just to pass to who’s free. It was as usual as playing a game of chess and just moving into where there is space and not planning ahead where to move to gain an advantage and win. Ashley Young wasting the opportunities to cross the ball in from free kicks either going way over or being too short. He later tried to win a penalty but was booked for his salmon like dive. Nothing infuriates fans more than static players. Far too often players were just walking forward, no one really seemed motivated to run into space, and when there was movement it was only one or two players not as a team. Substitutions were made with Kevin Davies coming on for Crouch and then Wright-Philips came on for Young. Strangely enough it was Davies who crossed it for Rooney to header, where you would be expecting the roles to be reversed. England best play came near the 80th minutes when there was a succession of quick play when Johnson gave it to Gerrard who knocked it to Rooney who passed it back to Gerrard who the laid it off to Wright-Phillips who then unfortunately over passed it to Johnson, who ran run on from his original position, but couldn’t reach it but was smart enough to slide for it and knock it out for a throw in rather than let it go for a goal kick. England had a good shout for a penalty but it wasn’t given. The Montenegro left back, Milan Jovanovic, did quite clearly move his arm to the ball, but it hasn’t been given, that would have been a good chance for England to score, but with how they are playing, would they have scored it? England almost went down to what would have been an Amazing goal when the Milan Jovanovic chested down the ball and then laced it with his left foot. It was dipping and it had Joe Hart beaten but unluckily for him hit the bar and went out, England went on the counter attack, and with Wright-Phillips fouled had their chance at goal. Gerrard put the ball it but it just feel to the keep and it was a waste. Debutant Davies was then booked as he backed into the defender leading with his elbow. England had a good chance from a free kick again against Wright-Phillips, but with the free kick coming in dangerously the Bozovic dived and held the ball brilliantly and minutes later did the same again. Some goalkeepers have doubts but the Montenegro keeper, Mladen Bozovic, was fearless tonight. Montenegro may not have played the most attractive football, but had the closed chance to a goal and their tactics won them the point they wanted. England will see this as two points lost, but in all fairness, one point is all they deserved. For most of the game they were lacklustre, un-inventive, and un-impressive. And when the full-time whistle blew so did the boo’s and jeer’s from the England faithful.