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England fall short as Russia progress

England this morning lost to Croatia and with that failed to qualify for Euro 2008 to be jointly hosted by Austria and Switzerland.

After Israel's surprise win over Russia at the weekend, England only needed a draw to qualify for next year's Euro championship but the loss means England will miss a major tournament for the first time since the 1994 World Cup.

I never thought England would fail to get a draw they needed to get through to the Euros especially against a team that had already qualified but performance on the night was so poor I could not believe these were top premiership players playing for England.

I thought that it was a good idea by Steve McLaren not to play Paul Robinson but I think he should have opted for more experienced David James instead of the inexperienced Scott Carson. It was also a brave decision to drop Robinson especially as he had not let in a goal at home throughout the campaign and all his famous blunders were away from home.

But I think its early in the campaign when McLaren messed up when he decided not to play David Beckham especially when he was in very good form that time at Real Madrid. He then recalled him but by then the campaign was not going too well already.

England's failure to qualify is more painful given the fact the team that is going in their place Russia has not been playing any better. They could not get a point in Israel and could only beat Andorra by an odd goal but the fact now is that they are going to the Euros and I think by the time they start Guus Hiddink would have made them a better team.

Now I am keen to see who will replace McLaren who said he is not resigning but I think the Football Association will have to replace him with somebody who can give England a better chance to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

I think it should be easy to choose the next England manager. I think they should just go for Alan Shearer. I say so because other countries like Holland, Italy, Croatia and Germany with Klinsmann have gone for their former internationals of not so long ago and have been successful and I don't see the reason why England cannot try that and go for Shearer.
I know he has no experience and so did Klinsmann when he took over Germany but I think he will be able to take team forward after the McClown shambles because all the team needs is a good motivator. The players are top class already and this time I think there is no need to try another foreign manager like Sven.

Yes Clive, Shearer will not an interesting choice but I wonder whether the English media would give him any time to settle if things don't go right in the initial stages. But then again the other English alternative would be Big Sam. Lets wait and see what happens.

No, not Shearer. You need an experienced coach, Shearer must first get some experience first or else it will be another experiment gone wrong.

mbareboy was a pathetic performance by England to say the least, and Croatia would have won by a wider margin.
The English back four was stationary and it was very easy to go behind them. England got two critical things wrong. Croatia have shown that they technically sound and can hold and move the ball around so well. To counter that, England needed to go for safety first and go for a draw initially, and when the door opens perhaps go for the juggernaut.

England didn't have a combative midfielder in the holding position (Owen Hargreaves would have done a better job I think) and decided to play two roving midfielders with no sense of coordination between themselves. Lamps and Gerrard are gifted players in their own right but playing together is a nightmare for both of them especially Lamps. Why Lamps played for 90mins is anyone's surprise.

Because of lack of coordination and a playmaker they were gaps between defence and midfield, midfield and attack, and the result was long balls to bridge the gap on an atrocious pitch that made controlling the ball a nightmare, a lone striker with no support, Lamps was to slow to move up, introduce Becks and then him and Richards don't know how to play together - McLaren from the way the team played had no formation and didn't have a clue about how the players should approach that kind of match - plain naivety.

England finishing with the same record as Israel, ...thats a poor campaign.

I dont think its about local or foreign coaches - its about the type of football that England wants to play against sides that are becoming technical in their approach.

Sven shouldn't have taken that England job, he doesn't need such a record on his CV, and Man City are proving how good he is. If England don't change their style, very soon teams like Andorra will be beating them.

Germany were in danger of becoming stale and they re-engineered their game from just grit and defensive minded to an attacking machine.

I think you are right going for a draw from the start would have been a reasonable option even if it meant a boring nil all as long as the team qualified. But also once the team got to 2 all, the team could have defended instead of trying to pull off a 'famous win'.

I think Barry was placed more or less as a holding midfielder and he couldn't drop him because he had played well in the last two matches - thats my guess.

I also dont understand why Lampard the whole match but there is concept of big name players can have one moment of brilliance but as it turned out he got worse as the match progressed and so did Gerrard and nearly everybody for that matter apart from Crouch and Beckham.

The thing is England are highly overrated and the English fans expect too much from an ordinary team. The players play very well for their clubs but when it comes to the national team, they don't seem to bother at all. Is it because they are surrounded by good foreign players? Maybe?

I cannot fathom the fact that Bridge, Cole, Lampard and SWP play for the same team and play well but when it came to England they looked like strangers who were playing together for the first time. Something must be wrong somewhere.

Some fans confuse the premiership with the England team. Yes the premiership is one of the best leagues in the world but the majority of the top players in the top teams are not English. There were no players from either Arsenal or Manchester United from the starting eleven against Croatia. Yes Rio was suspended and Rooney was injured and could have started if they were available but from Arsenal their best English player is found in the u21s and for me that is part of the problem. But then again there are a lot of foreign players in Germany, Spain and Italy but the national teams in those countries are doing well and so where is the problem with the English team. I think they just need a better coach and a foreign one for that matter.

Colin, good observation about there being no Man U or Arsenal supporters in the starting 11 but I think the players fielded were still very good and with a good coach to organise and motivate them they should at least have got the required draw.

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