Hodgson blames referee after England draw12/09/2012 - 08:56:20
England manager Roy Hodgson was today counting the cost of a disappointing 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw against Ukraine at Wembley.
Hodgson not only lost two valuable points in his quest to top Group H, he will also be without captain Steven Gerrard and full-back Glen Johnson for next month's qualifier against San Marino.
Gerrard was sent off after two bookable offences while Johnson was also shown a yellow card to go with the one he received last Friday against Moldova.
It meant Gerrard became the 14th England player to be dismissed and the second England captain to be shown the red card, the other being David Beckham for two yellow cards against Austria in 2005.
Hodgson, however, blamed Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir, who also handed out warnings to James Milner, Joleon Lescott and Jermain Defoe.
Hodgson said: "I thought all the yellow cards were harsh. It was not a game were there were a lot of bad fouls. There were far too many yellow cards for the fouls that were committed and we certainly got too many.
"Steven Gerrard is certainly very unlucky to be sent off. I don't think the two fouls he was adjudged to have committed were worthy of that sanction."
England went behind to a brilliant 25-yard opener from Yevgen Konoplianka and were grateful for an 87th minute penalty from Chelsea's Frank Lampard after defender Yevhen Khacheridi had handled the ball.
It was Lampard's 26th goal for his country to take him to joint 12th on the England goal-scoring list alongside Bryan Robson.
A defiant Hodgson said: "You are always relieved when you are losing 1-0 and you get a late equaliser. I suppose all games you don't win at home people say it's not a great performance but I didn't think we did that badly.
"Once we got into our stride we had quite good control of the game. We went one down to a wonder strike and from then on against a good Ukrainian team you are always going to be up against it but I was pleased with the way we kept playing our football, taking the game to them and creating chances. In the end we fully deserved our equaliser."
Hodgson rued the absence of the injured Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole and John Terry and started with Tom Cleverley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield, also bringing on youngsters Ryan Bertrand, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck in the second half.
Hodgson said: "It was always going to be tough for Cleverley and Oxlade-Chamberlain after their excellent Friday night performance.
"Tom missed a couple of good chances in the first half but I still think those two players acquitted themselves fine in the game but it was good to have fresh legs to bring on in Sturridge and Welbeck and both did very well."
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