Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Football: 'You do that in training and wonder if you'll get one in a match'

England's first goal. Georgia's manager, David Kipiani, described it as decisive. England's coach, Glenn Hoddle, described it as "magnificent". "Sometimes you manage something like that in training and you wonder if you might get one like it in a match. It happened tonight."

Hoddle, not surprisingly, had high praise for the forward partnership of Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham which he had re-established for the first time since Euro 96.

"They are quality players on the same wavelength," he said. "They play off each other and use their brains. Even the free-kick for the second goal was worked beautifully. When you get a free-kick in that area what happens is off the cuff."

But Hoddle's enthusiasm was tempered by the way England's form dipped in the 20 minutes after they had opened the scoring. "We lost the reins of the game and a lot of that was down to Paul Ince. He got a heavy whack in the back and it started to give him problems with his knee, which meant he couldn't move forward as he had done in the first half. Paul being Paul he wanted to keep on trying but that was probably why we lost things. At that point I would have expected us to go on and get a second straight away.

"It was a highly technical match today. We knew the Georgians could play good stuff, but at the end of the day they had just one shot which scraped the bar.

"I said beforehand that we would have to be vigilant and that is what we were today. The Georgians can upset teams. They have given some a hammering."

For all his satisfaction after a match which he had said England had to win, Hoddle was wary of accepting the idea that the qualifying group was now a two-horse race. "There is still a lot of football to be played and Poland will be desperate to get three points off us at home."

Sheringham was understandably satisfied after a match which had brought him his third England goal in three games. "That's not bad," he said. "I wish I could do that for Tottenham." It marked a welcome upturn in his fortunes since Sunday night, when his car, containing a full set of golf clubs, was stolen. Figuratively speaking, at least, Sheringham is now back in the driving seat.