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Gareth Southgate insists he was RIGHT not to make any subs despite England throwing away lead

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Gareth Southgate insists he was RIGHT not to make any subs despite England throwing away lead in stoppage time against resurgent Poland (who made FIVE!) to lose 100% record

  • England conceded equaliser in stoppage time to draw 1-1 with Poland
  • Result ended England’s five match winning run in World Cup qualifying 
  • England looked to have won the game with a 72nd minute Harry Kane strike
  • But Poland, after making five changes, rallied in stoppage time to snatch point
  • Gareth Southgate defended his decision not to make changes despite late strike 


Gareth Southgate defended his decision to not make any substitutions as a last-gasp equaliser checked England’s quest to reach the World Cup finals.

England’s head coach named a completely different team in Warsaw to the one that had beaten Andorra 4-0 on Sunday at Wembley but Southgate resisted the opportunity to put fresh legs on in the latter stages of this Group I clash against Poland.

It led to Damian Szymanski plundering an equaliser in the 92nd minute, cancelling out Harry Kane’s 41st international goal. Poland made five substitutions to get back into the contest but Southgate, whose team remain unbeaten, was comfortable with his decision.

England boss Gareth Southgate has defended his call not to make any subs against Poland

England boss Gareth Southgate has defended his call not to make any subs against Poland

Soccer Football - World Cup - UEFA Qualifiers - Group I - Poland v England - PGE Narodowy, Warsaw, Poland - September 8, 2021 Poland's Damian Szymanski scores their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

England wilted in stoppage time conceding a last minute equaliser to their Group I rivals 

England players stand dejected after throwing away a stoppage time lead in Warsaw

England players stand dejected after throwing away a stoppage time lead in Warsaw

Southgate said: ‘We were in total control and to bring players into that moment when everyone was performing to a good level and we were controlling possession, that can put players in who have had to sit in stand and not so easy.

‘There were a couple of times when we looked at it but we were doing well, no problems. We were going to refresh the wide players to run the clock down but we conceded before we could get them on. That is not a good moment then to make changes.’

There was a flashpoint at the end of the first half when Kamil Glik appeared to grab at Kyle Walker, an incident that incensed England’s players. Harry Maguire was booked, along with Glik and it will be looked at further by match officials.

England captain Harry Kane revealed the FA are looking into an incident before half-time where Poland's Kamil Glik appeared to grab Kyle Walker's neck

England captain Harry Kane revealed the FA are looking into an incident before half-time where Poland’s Kamil Glik appeared to grab Kyle Walker’s neck

The incident led to Glik and Maguire clashing after the half-time whistle had been blown

The incident led to Glik and Maguire clashing after the half-time whistle had been blown

Both players were cautioned for causing the half-time melee in the World Cup qualifier

Both players were cautioned for causing the half-time melee in the World Cup qualifier

England captain Kane said: ‘There was an incident just before half-time which has been reported to the FA guys. They’re taking care of it and investigating it and we’ll go from there.

‘Allegedly it was something that was done, not said. We haven’t chance to look at the footage and talk to the lad.’

Southgate, meanwhile, was left to rue England’s failure to press home their dominance in the second period. They looked like maintaining their 100 per cent record when Kane flashed a drive in from 30 yards but they were caught out in injury time.

‘It was no surprise that this was the hardest game in the group,’ said Southgate, whose side face Hungary and Andorra next month. ‘Early in the game, we were a little slow to move the ball and Poland pressed us well.

Kane had given England the lead with a sensational 30-yard drive in the 72nd minute

Kane had given England the lead with a sensational 30-yard drive in the 72nd minute

Although Kane's goal was not enough for the win it still leaves England in a healthy spot top of the group as they remain on course to qualify for next year's World Cup finals in Qatar

Although Kane’s goal was not enough for the win it still leaves England in a healthy spot top of the group as they remain on course to qualify for next year’s World Cup finals in Qatar

‘We got caught in our own half a few times but we recovered well and defended those situations well. As the half wore on we started to get a grip of the game and gain more control without making really any clear chances – other than Harry Kane’s header at the far post.

‘In the second half we controlled the game. If there’s a criticism it’s that we didn’t create enough clear chances from that possession and we didn’t get enough players in the box.

‘While it’s one-nil you run the risk of what happened at the end. We’re clearly disappointed not to get the three points but I have to look at what the players have done across these three matches.’

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