• World Cup qualifiers

Hodgson: England remain in the driving seat

ESPN staff
March 26, 2013
Wayne Rooney's early goal was not enough for England © PA Photos

Head coach Roy Hodgson insists England remain on course for World Cup qualification, despite being held to a 1-1 draw by a spirited Montenegro side on Tuesday evening.

The Three Lions remain two points behind the Eastern European nation in the Group H standings following the result in Podgorica, after Wayne Rooney's early header was eventually cancelled out by substitute Dejan Damjanovic.

Hodgson acknowledged that his players had seen the game slip away from them in the second half, although he believed his side still warranted the three points.

"I thought the first half was good but we didn't start the second half as we would have liked to and that gave Montenegro some encouragement," Hodgson said. "I thought we hung on well and finished strongly but during their good spell they got an equaliser and robbed us of a victory."

England have now failed to beat Poland, Montenegro or Ukraine so far in the group stages, but Hodgson is confident qualification for Brazil is still eminently attainable - pointing out that they are still to play most of their group rivals at Wembley.

"All things considered, we musn't be too disappointed," Hodgson added. "There is a long way to go yet and a draw here is something that allows us to build for the future.

"We have to play three of our last four games at home and we will see how it goes there."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.