Defensive headache

The win over Scotland papered over the cracks in England's defending, writes Peter Fraser.

Last Updated: 14/08/13 at 23:18

Roy Hodgson: England's manager will know defensive errors are costly in the

Roy Hodgson: England's manager will know defensive errors are costly in the

As England's hopes of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup remain in the balance, Wednesday's friendly against Scotland further underlined concerns about the defending of Roy Hodgson's side.

Although Rickie Lambert secured a fairytale win, the main worry for fans of the Three Lions in the post-Rio Ferdinand and John Terry era will be that manager Hodgson appears to want to build his side on the basis of a solid back four but they are unable to keep a clean sheet against serious opponents.

After the thrilling 3-2 victory over Scotland at Wembley, it is now only San Marino, on two occasions, who have failed to score against England in the past 10 games. Here, we take a look back at the mistakes which have been committed.


England 1 Ukraine 1 - World Cup qualifier, September 2012

Having been made to chase shadows for long periods by a technically accomplished Ukraine at Wembley, England conceded to Yevhen Konoplianka's spectacular first-half strike. Three Lions centre-back Joleon Lescott was guilty of giving away possession with an error which has plagued his career. Hodgson seemingly does not trust the Manchester City defender and he has mainly only featured in squads when other options have been restricted.

Poland 1 England 1 - World Cup qualifier, October 2012

Hodgson's side had been on course for a crucial win in Warsaw, having seen the game initially delayed 24 hours due to a waterlogged pitch, but another blunder proved costly. Wayne Rooney's deflected header had given England the lead before half-time and they looked set to hang on for a win which would not have reflected the run of play. However, Kamil Glik's second-half equaliser came courtesy of a poor misjudgement from England goalkeeper Joe Hart with 20 minutes remaining.

Sweden 4 England 2 - Friendly, November 2012

Zlatan Ibrahimovic sensationally scored all four goals against England but it was not without a bit of help from lapse defending. The Sweden striker's first came after he reacted the quickest following Steven Caulker's block of his initial shot. Ibrahimovic's second was an impressive effort as he controlled on his chest and volleyed past Hart. But the England goalkeeper was at fault for Ibrahimovic's third as a free-kick was allowed to skid into the bottom corner. Hart was then under scrutiny as Ibrahimovic scored his fourth. The England goalkeeper rushed from his area to head the ball clear but only sent it to Ibrahimovic, who famously produced a stunning, long-range overhead kick.

England 2 Brazil 1 - Friendly, February 2013

Goals from Rooney and Frank Lampard gave England their first win over Brazil for almost a quarter-of-a-century but, again, in between they could not keep a clean sheet. After mistakes in earlier games, Hart saved a first-half penalty from Ronaldinho. However, three minutes after half-time, Gary Cahill carelessly gave away possession to allow Fred the chance to score at Wembley.

Montenegro 1 England 1 - World Cup qualifier, March 2013

Another Rooney goal had given England the lead in Podgorica but Hodgson saw his side surrender a possibly vital three points with a wretched second-half performance. England looked as if they panicked under pressure against Montenegro and had to survive several scares, including Hart fumbling Mirko Vucinic's shot between his legs. Dejan Damjanovic scrambled an equaliser in the 77th minute.

Republic of Ireland 1 England 1 - Friendly, May 2013

The first meeting between these two teams since 1995 ended in a fairly uneventful draw but England again failed to shut out their opponents. Hodgson saw his side have to come from a goal down after Shane Long's excellent header. Long rose above Glen Johnson to beat Hart. There was little blame for Johnson. Ireland's goal was largely due to the quality of Long's header in the 13th minute. Lampard equalised for England 10 minutes later.

Brazil 2 England 2 - Friendly, June 2013

Hart answered some of his critics with a fine display to frustrate Brazil superstar Neymar in this iconic game at the Maracana. However, England still conceded two goals and were at times run ragged by their South American opponents. Goals from, famously, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rooney had twice given England the lead but Fred and Paulinho equalised on both occasions to deny Hodgson's team.

England 3 Scotland 2 - Friendly, August 2013

Despite winning, England were twice exposed in this classic friendly on Wednesday evening at Wembley against their oldest rivals. First, Hart produced a clanger when failing to stop James Morrison's dipping shot in the 11th minute. Theo Walcott equalised for England but, in the second half, Kenny Miller made Cahill look foolish when leaving the defender flat-footed with a clever turn inside the box before finishing past Hart. Goals from Danny Welbeck and Lambert would go on to decide the contest.

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