England Qualifies For Euro 2012

England qualified for the European Championship finals in 2012 which will be hosted in Poland and the Ukraine next summer, this will be the first time that either country has hosted a major football championship. England went into the match knowing that they only needed a draw in their final group game in Montenegro to secure qualification for the Finals.

Even though England only required a single point from their final group game to ensure qualification, the task was by no means a formality, Montenegro had already shown their pedigree during their 0-0 draw against England earlier in the group stage of the competition, in the match at Wembley Stadium. Montenegro also enjoy a lofty world FIFA ranking of 26, which clearly demonstrates that they are no pushovers in any competition.

England started the game well and any pre-match anxieties were quickly eased after just eleven minutes when a perfect cross from Theo Walcott only required a simple header England to the lead. The Podgorica City Stadium can be an intimidating arena for visiting teams and manager Fabio Capello had warned his team to play for a victory rather than just reliably on the point they needed. England were celebrating again after thirty one minutes when Darren Bent was on hand to provide a simple finish after Wayne Rooney passed to Young who then crossed for Bent to tap the ball into the goal from close range.

As a reliably one sided first half drew to a close, England conceded a poor goal as the home side were afforded too much time and space which allowed Zverotic to score for Montenegro. His shot taking a brutal deflection into the goal, away from goalkeeper Joe Hart. The goal wave the partisan home fans renewed hope for the second half of the game on what should have been more comfortable evening for the visitors after initially taking a 2-0 lead.

A moment of second half madness from Wayne Rooney saw him given a straight red card that will now see him miss the start of the European Championships due to suspension. Rooney's moment of indiscretion occurred seventeen minutes from the end of the game when he kicked out at his opponent, giving the referee little option other than to send him off. Rooney will now automatically miss the opening game of next years tournament, and possibly more games if the suspension is extended.

The numerical advantage cave Montenegro a renewed enthusiasm and they press forward in search of an equalizing goal. With seconds of the game remaining Delibasic headed an equalizer, the 2-2 result ensures that England qualify for next years finals, while it also ensures that Montenegro now enters next months qualifying play-off games, a result which pleased both sets of fans, but not Rooney or his manager.

Source by Steve Goodwin

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