"There can be no excuses", said McClaren for so many times. Indeed, someone else threw such a lifeline at you and if you still lose, you can't blame anyone else. I don't know where to start writing about all these; in fact I am usually reluctant to write too much since it often appears that what can be said have already been said, in a better way. But since they won't play for quite a while, here is still something.
Formation. 4-5-1? (or 4-3-3, it doesn't matter) It has been proved so many times that England can only play 4-4-2. If someone is injured, just replace with someone else of the same position; don't mess with the formation to squeeze your star players in. But we all know this is exactly the thing that McClaren (and Eriksson) does. Comes to my mind again is the old joke that if McClaren has 11 star goalkeepers then he will put 11 goalkeepers in the starting lineup. (Or maybe this is a good idea, just for this match...)
Starting lineup. I actually think using SWP and putting Beckham on the bench is the right thing. Not too many people dare to recall Beckham just to put him on the bench. I think he is good enough as a substitute but perhaps not good enough to start.
Then the match started, and McClaren was holding an umbrella. At that moment, I knew it certainly isn't right, but I couldn't put it in words, until newspapers and others have now done. He isn't even prepared to get his hair wet? Afraid that fans throw objects at him?
After 7 or 8 minutes we have this, Scott Carson. You can't really blame him too much, he is so inexperienced, and it is this McClaren who put him out all of a sudden. I agree we should let go of Robinson, much earlier in fact, but I think James is a better choice. At least, he is used to these embarassing errors and will not be too shakened by them. Carson on the other hand is visibly shakened for the entire first half.
Wayne Bridge. No words are enough to describe how awful that is. Keep attacker onside for the second goal. Slow, slow, slow. Numerous errors. The other defenders ain't too much better either.
Tactics, if there is any. Peter Crouch alone up front, with everyone aiming the ball at his head. Again, it has been proven so many times that it does not work. It looks like nobody noticed he has two feet. Using Crouch is not that bad an idea, despite he is constantly being criticized. Alright, he is not a world-class striker - he will probably never be - but he can do something different. (Like bending the body and strike at unusual angles...) That is, as long as you pass the ball on the pitch. The next thing that happens after someone kicks the ball high up the air to his head is that they lose possession. You can blame the pitch, but Croatia is playing at the same pitch and they are passing the ball around.
The half-time substitutions are understandable - not much else he could do by that time.
Then somehow, they cheated a very soft penalty. The slightest shirt pull and Defoe fell down dramatically. Anyway, now back in the game, huh?
Next the Beckham-Crouch goal; this is more like it. I told you before, Peter Crouch has two feet. (And the ball is towards his chest, not his head.) Everyone says "see, Beckham is so important". Ok, you're right, but only because the other midfielders are so underperformed. Gerrard for example has been performing rather poorly for quite a while.
Then you lose one more goal, and then here comes Darren Bent. At that point there were completely no tactics - how are the three forwards supposed to do? Just randomly runs around and hope that something happens?
The next day, sacking of McClaren. Of course this is the right thing to do. But he is fired by the same set of people who recruited him, which from day 1 everyone knows that this is not the first choice. Why no one ever ask the people in the FA to take responsibility and resign?
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