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Oct 16, 2012

England washed out in Warsaw

England were washed out of their World Cup qualifier with Poland in Warsaw as a torrential downpour made the pitch unplayable, despite the presence of a roof on the stadium that was not closed.

The England players refused to warm up on the pitch ahead of the game as the rain fell and manager Roy Hodgson cut a disconsolate figure when he inspected the surface, trying to kick a ball around the sodden turf.

With the roof remaining open because there was too much rain to close it, a time of 2000 BST was agreed to make a decision over the future of the game, before it was eventually called off.

The game will now be played on Wednesday afternoon at 1600 BST as, under FIFA rules, it has to be attempted to replay the game within 24 hours after a postponement.

England coach Roy Hodgson claimed the pitch would take plenty of work to be ready.

He said on ITV1: "I'm rather hoping there'll get it (the roof) closed now as quickly as possible and start to do some work on the pitch because at moment the pitch is in very poor condition. Water is lying on the surface. It's going to need a lot of attention if it's going to be playable tomorrow afternoon.''

The England boss added he was happy with the rescheduled time.

"I think it was the only decision that could be made,'' he said. "There're no other possibilities. You can't find dates at international level. The dates that are available are all taken up so you can't just suddenly decide we'll play it another time.

"What you have to do is to try to organise to get the game played as quickly as possible. We'll have to go back to the hotel. We're disappointed. We prepared well for this start tonight as no doubt the Poles have too, but now we've got to do it all over again and hopefully we'll be as prepared tomorrow as we were tonight.''

Later, Club England managing director Adrian Bevington insisted no snub was intended towards England supporters after players failed to acknowledge them.

Some supporters were reported to be unhappy, after standing in the rain for so long, that the players did not come back out and say thank you for their support in such atrocious conditions.

But Club England managing director Bevington stressed: "We have made it clear, frequently, just how important the supporters are to us. These are pretty unique circumstances.

"We had said to the players to get changed significantly earlier than when the game would be called off because we didn't think there was any chance of the match being played, but we didn't want it to look as if we'd made their decision for them. There's nothing but respect for those fans who have travelled all that way. There was no disrespect intended.''

Bevington added: "The most important thing here is that, while there are issues of disappointment for all the fans who have travelled, the safety of the players on the pitch is paramount.

"That has to be the priority. We were not able to confirm anything (about the game being postponed) until we were told ourselves. We were asked not to confirm anything until we were told by the referee at 10.05pm.

"It's extremely regrettable for all supporters who have missed out tonight. Hopefully the game goes ahead at 5pm (local time) tomorrow with supporters in the stadium.''

England striker Wayne Rooney echoed the sentiments of Bevington towards the 2,000 supporters inside the National Stadium.

He tweeted: "Thanks to the England fans who came tonight. Sorry we couldn't come out of the tunnel to see you but we all really appreciate your support.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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