Hodgson: England cannot afford to lose final game of year

England coach Roy Hodgson admits they face a "painful" five months if they end the year with defeat to Poland in today's World Cup qualifier.

England coach Roy Hodgson admits they face a "painful" five months if they end the year with defeat to Poland in today's World Cup qualifier.

England are yet to taste defeat in 90 minutes under Hodgson but this represents his sternest test since losing to Italy on penalties at the quarter-final stage of Euro 2012.

He said: “We were aware when the draw was made that Poland and Ukraine were important fixtures and if we can take more points than they take from us it gives us a great advantage.

“Because it is five months to the next qualifier, it will make a victory that much sweeter and a defeat that much more painful. You’re aware of the fact that, when you’re playing against your biggest rivals in the group, it adds that bit of spice.

“We feel a great deal of responsibility whenever we take part in an England game — as manager or captain.

“We feel the responsibility, whoever the opposition, to go out there and win it in the right way. It might be a game tonight. Against San Marino it was 95 minutes of attack against defence. To have a game, you need both sides to try and win the game, so this will be more interesting. Poland will think they can play well enough to cause us problems and win. Us likewise.”

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