Liverpool's Internationals Recap: England Hold on to an Important Point

Clive Rose

Looking at Tuesday's two late UEFA qualifying matches with Liverpool players involved sees Martin Skrtel and Slovakia officially out of World Cup contention while England were happy to hold onto first in Group H by salvaging a point against Ukraine.

Slovakia 1 Hamsik 42'
Bosnia and Herzegovina 2 Bicakcic 69', Hajrovic 78'

In a rematch of Friday's 1-0 Slovak win that kept World Cup hopes alive, Bosnia-Herzegovina visited Zilina looking to turn the tables. Another win for Martin Skrtel and Slovakia would put them within touching distance of first in the group; a loss could end their hopes of finishing better than third. And in the end, it was a disappointing day for the Slovaks, as Marek Hamsik's goal just before the end of the first half wouldn't be enough to stop a second half push by Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Fullback Ermin Bicakcic levelled the scores with 20 minutes left, and then substitute Izek Hajrovic put the game away for Bosnia-Herzegovina, who now can finish no worse than second in the group. Meanwhile, Greece beat Latvia 1-0, meaning Slovakia are seven points behind the top two countries in the group with only two games remaining and as a result are officially out of contention to make it to the 2014 World Cup.

Ukraine 0
England 0

England and Ukraine set a frantic pace for Tuesday's potentially decisive Group H match early on when, within the opening minute, Ukraine striker Roman Zozulya touched the ball away from Joe Hart as the keeper dove for it. There was contact, and it could easily have seen Ukraine handed a penalty opportunity, but the referee wasn't interested. Minutes later, Theo Walcott drove at the Ukraine goal and nearly managed the opening goal, and things barely let up the rest of the first half.

England had a handful of corners they came close to converting while Ukraine dominated from open play, driving wide to exploit England's fullbacks, with Kyle Walker on England's right a particularly favoured target for Yevhen Konoplyanka. Meanwhile, the midfield trio of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard along with an injury-hampered Jack Wilshere conceded the centre of the pitch to Ukraine far too easily, turning the ball over to Ukraine quickly whenever England managed a spell of possession.

In the second half it was mostly more of the same, with Ukraine bullying England from open play and Roy Hodgson's side relying on Theo Walcott's pace to offer occasional relief and the odd moment of attacking threat. Starting with a poor Kyle Walker challenge inches outside England's area soon after the 70th minute, the final 20 minutes were spent almost wholly in the England end as Ukraine pushed for the goal that would leapfrog them past England in Group H.

That goal never came for Ukraine, and England were content to escape with a point that keeps Ukraine third and puts them one up on Montenegro with the two sides set to meet on October 11th.

liverpool blog fc sbn

For a look back at Denmark's important victory over Armenia earlier in the day, go here. And with UEFA action concluded, those looking to keep an eye on Luis Suarez and Uruguay can join the conversation in today's Internationals Matchday.

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