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Sam Foster
Upper Sixth
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Montenegro frustrate lacklustre England

Montenegro frustrate lacklustre England

England were frustrated by Montenegro as their flawless start to the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign was ended in a goalless stalemate.

Fabio Capello's side dominated possession but, with Wayne Rooney a subdued figure, were lacking in ideas and invention to break down a team that also came to Wembley boasting a 100% record in qualification.

Rio Ferdinand returned as England's captain for the Euro 2012 qualifier as he reclaimed the arm band from Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard, the stand-in during Ferdinand's injury-related absence.

Meanwhile, Sunderland striker Darren Bent was ruled out with a groin injury picked up in training on Monday so Peter Crouch got a rare start. However even when Davies was awarded his first international cap, the country's oldest debutant for 60 years, and while he gave a lively cameo which also included a booking, there was no way through and Wembley vented its frustration at the end.

Having survived the best England had to offer, it was Montenegro who came closest to snatching the victory when Milan Jovanovic — who had somehow escaped a clear handball offence in the penalty area moments earlier — rattled the crossbar from long range with only seven minutes left.

In contrast, the Montenegro celebrations reflected the importance of the result for the visitors, but it was a bitter disappointment for England after opening their assault on Euro 2012 with impressive victories against Bulgaria and Switzerland.

Manager Fabio Capello vowed to battle on despite watching England being held to a disappointing goalless Euro 2012 qualifying draw by Montenegro.

The Italian's side enjoyed most of the possession at Wembley but created few chances against a staunch defence.

After this disappointing result England remain second in Group G, three points behind Montenegro with a game in hand, but Capello said: "I am a fighter. It is one game. I think we are a good team but their keeper played well. This is football."

There had been much hype over this game as to whether England could continue to successfully bounce back from their bitterly disappointing performance in South Africa, however this time it was not to be, instead the players reverted back to maintaining possession but lacking any real flair to get through the Montenegro defence and really test the opponents keeper.

The question on everybody's mind now, is whether Fabio Cappello is still the right man for the job, although he recently signed a contract keeping him until the end of Euro 2012, lots of people are now questioning whether it was the right decision. The simple answer is, time will tell. We now look forward to the next big challenge; France at Wembley in November.

26 October 2010

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