Football: A goal that was worth the wait

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The Independent Online
IAN WRIGHT was last night celebrating his first goal for England after a wait of two years and nine games since his debut against Cameroon in February 1991.

'It's great to score my first goal for England but I've never doubted myself,' he said. 'The Polish fans were making a fantastic noise, but it was good to give them something to shut them up. This goal is as important as any I could have scored for England.

'Poland were very sharp, they played well, but we stuck in there and deserved the result. I was fortunate to be the one who scored. It was a great cross from Tony Dorigo. The goalkeeper got a hand to it but the power carried it in. I kept thinking the boys would get something from the game and we showed a lot of character.'

Wright was kept on the bench because of an ankle injury and England will have to nurse him through their next World Cup game in Norway on Wednesday.

Problems are piling up for the England manager Graham Taylor with Paul Ince suspended after collecting his second yellow card of the campaign in Oslo and Paul Gascoigne doubtful after being cut to the shin bone from one bad tackle. 'We left him on for as long as possible, but in the end he had to come off,' Taylor said.

The last time England were in Poland, they needed a point to reach the European Championship finals and Gary Lineker obliged with nine minutes to go. Last night there was even less on the clock, but Taylor said: 'When time is running out like that you have to keep thinking that the game lasts 90 minutes and you're always in with a chance. I always felt we could get something.

'Wright coming on was all part of the ploy. It's an important breakthrough for him. I always had a gut feeling that his first goal for England would arrive when he was coming off the bench.'

But Taylor was not happy with his side's first-half performance. 'Poland should have scored early on and also when Chris Woods gave the ball away.' Taylor said. 'I was very, very disappointed with our defending early on. We were running around like headless chickens. We got carried away by the atmosphere but you can't play football in those circumstances.'