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England defender Gary Cahill explained why the Group G leaders have struggled to dominate their opponents at Wembley in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying.
The 1-0 victory which left England needing just a point from their final game away to Montenegro on 7 October to be sure of a place in next summer's finals, had a similar feel and rhythm to previous fixtures when they struggled to dispose of Switzerland and Montenegro.
Cahill, the Bolton Wanderers FC centre-back who again proved an able deputy for the injured Rio Ferdinand, said it was hard to break Wales down: "A lot of teams come to Wembley and try and frustrate us. When we had the ball at the back they had six players across midfield, even the forward dropped back in there.
It's hard to see the picture in front of you but tonight was all about the result. They caused us a few problems but overall I think we deserved it."
Wayne Rooney outlined the promising future that lies ahead with a new generation of players while Frank Lampard, back in the team having been left out of the starting 11 for Friday's 3-0 win in Bulgaria, expressed his desire to continue to play a role for his country.
"All the young players who have come in have done well," said Rooney whose Manchester United FC team-mate Chris Smalling had demonstrated his power and athleticism at right-back while another, Ashley Young, scored the night's only goal. "It looks good for the future."
Lampard joked that he would now always have to live with talk of his age – he will be 34 during the finals in Poland and Ukraine – but warned that no one should write him off. "I'm very proud to be an England player," said the Chelsea FC midfielder. "I've been on the bench before and come back and I'll keep trying to play as well as I can. It will only change if the manager doesn't pick me or if I decide for the benefit of my long-term future that I don't want to play and I'm certainly nowhere near that."
Fabio Capello's players shared a collective relief at Robert Earnshaw's miss near the end when he spurned a chance to equalise with the goal gaping. "I feel devastated and there's no chance I will watch it again, but when I miss chances I just get on with it," said Earnshaw, who came on in the 68th minute.
"It was brilliant for me to get chances at Wembley and to be in a position to score. But the bigger picture is that we have taken five or six steps forward tonight.
We can be proud of our performance. We've only lost narrowly to one of the best teams in the world and in the second half we edged it."
Fresh from making his first appearance in a competitive international, Wales's West Ham United FC midfielder Jack Collison added: "It's great for me to play here and now I just want to play as much as I can. The team is making progress and it's all about the next [FIFA World Cup] qualifiers in a year's time."
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