Letâ€™s not kid ourselves, that wasnâ€™t anywhere near as good a performance as was expected
It’s all very well having low expectations, but I think itâ€™s fair to say we were lucky to get away with a point last night. With other results going against us, England are now in second place in Group H on goal difference and it could have been worse. Without wanting to sound too alarmist, this group may come down to who scores the most goals against San Marino, in which case we may be lucky itâ€™s our turn to play them next.
Of course, you could also argue that if Steven Gerrard had to be suspended for one game after picking up a stupid red card, San Marino would be the one most people would pick. As a kid in the early seventies I remember an FA crackdown on â€˜the tackle from behindâ€™ and although that would have been a decade or so before Gerrard was born, Iâ€™m a little bit surprised that he doesnâ€™t know those tackles are illegal. As for Danny Welbeckâ€™s attempt to win a penalty, that proved a couple of things: my eyesight is better than Andy Townsendâ€™s and that Welbeck and Ashley Young have obviously been exchanging notes about diving in the penalty box.
Itâ€™ll be fascinating to see how Roy Hogdson reacts to the subtle change of circumstances. Four of the starting XI last night are over 30 and with neither of the youngest players looking particularly impressive last night itâ€™s time to dust off the clichÃ©s about this team being â€˜in transitionâ€™ or â€˜a work in progressâ€™â€¦but you have to wonder if the current team will be anywhere near the finished article in two years time or whether some of the new faces will still be in contention if England qualify for the World Cup.
England have two further rolls of the dice before the end of the year, although youâ€™d be hard pressed to find any value backing us to win the group or finish in the top two â€“ youâ€™d be better off taking a look at casino odds if you fancy a flutter â€“ but Englandâ€™s price to win the World Cup in Brazil began to drift after last nightâ€™s game finished. Not surprisingly, Brazil remain favourites.