'We have got to play with our minds'

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The Independent Online
In the end a goal which the England coach, Glenn Hoddle, described as "one out of the Bobby Charlton scrapbook" proved enough for an important victory. While he was clearly delighted with the contribution from his captain and centreforward, Alan Shearer, Hoddle voiced understandable concern about the way his side had failed to concentrate in the opening stages of the match.

"For whatever reason we were not defending properly for 25 minutes," he said. "Perhaps it was the euphoria of being back at Wembley. You can't defend like that without getting punished.

"I have been speaking to them in the week about how to defend but you have got to remember these things at the crucial times. We have got to play with our minds a little more, not just with our hearts."

Hoddle delivered what he described as "stern words" to his team at half-time, directing his remarks mainly towards the subject of winning the ball. "If it needs to be said, it needs to be said. That's where you earn your crust as a manager. You have to go in at half-time and try and make a difference.

"But you have to give credit where it's due. There was a lot of pressure on the team tonight, a lot of expectation and they did well to turn it round.

"The way Poland played tonight may have surprised a lot of people but it didn't surprise me after seeing them against Russia and Germany."

Hoddle had decided after seeing those games that he would need to team up the physical power of Les Ferdinand and Shearer to combat the robust Polish defenders. "I felt we needed that - for this game."

He praised the display of David Beckham, to whom he gave a second cap along with Paul Hinchcliffe. But his most expansive comments, predictably, were reserved for Shearer. "He is the No 1 striker in Europe and I know there is a goal for him of becoming perhaps the world's best. He's got the attributes to achieve that."

The Polish coach, Antoni Piechniczek, said: "Over 90 minutes we deserved a point. We are not ashamed of our performance. It was probably one of the best games Poland have played for years. The game went as we expected until the 25th minute..." Enter Shearer.

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