Sport

World Cup failure not an option, says Manchester City and England goalkeeper Joe Hart

By Paddy von Behr

England have not even considered failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Rio De Janeiro, says Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Roy Hodgson’s side struggled to a draw in Montenegro on Tuesday night – their third in six qualifiers – and lie second in the group.

However, with four games left – three of which are at Wembley – Hart insists England’s fate is in their own hands.

“We are not contemplating failing to qualify. That’s not even crossing our minds at the moment,” the City stopper told PA.

“We’ve got ourselves in a strong position and we’ve got Montenegro to come at home and, if we win all the games now, we finish top of the group.”

England’s three draws have come against Poland, Ukraine and Montenegro – the group’s tougher opposition – with wins over San Marino (twice) and Moldova.

And Hart played down suggestions a point in places like Warsaw and Podgorica is a bad result for Hodgson’s side.

“People ask about not holding on against Poland and Montenegro but they are tough places to come,” he said.

“How I do assess the group? It is going to be tough. It is a really tough thing to qualify for a World Cup and you kind of take it a bit for granted.

“That’s what we expect as a nation. We are England, we should be qualifying for things but it is easier said than done.”

On a lighter note, Hart brushed aside suggestions the Podgorica crowd were unruly on Tuesday, after the keeper found himself covered in toilet roll during the game.

“It is not going to kill you is it? It’s not ideal but that’s the beauty of football.

“The atmosphere was good fun. I thought first and foremost our fans were awesome throughout the game.

“It was a hostile atmosphere and our fans brought colour and good quality support. I enjoy playing in those atmospheres.”

Picture courtesy of Football UA via WikiCommons, with thanks.

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