No matter what I wrote yesterday, I’m absolutely gutted.
Much of that scribbled yesterday turned out to be wrong; some was right, but all that’s important is England will miss out on the European Championships. Kudos to Crouch and Beckham for that goal (the lesson, once again, I’m an idiot), and the team for trying to haul themselves back into it, but Croatia were too much, and England’s missteps, both earlier in the game and campaign, were too much to overcome.
I don’t really care to single out players. You all know who was gash, either by watching the game or via match reports. You have enough choices to choose from, at the least. England only conceded 4 goals throughout qualifying, and with a makeshift backline, they conceded three today. And while I’d love to excoriate McClaren’s tactics and managerial capabilities, it’d be beating a dead horse into oblivion. He’ll obviously be sacked, and I can’t imagine who’ll be hiring him next.
I truly feel for Scott Carson, who shouldn’t have been put in that position. I’ve been calling for Robbo’s replacement for months now, but this was absolutely the wrong time to make the switch. Carson’s first competitive cap, and it’s in the game that determines whether England will qualify, in front of an expectant Wembley. It’s little surprise he had a stumble within the first ten minutes, and despite that and some other frightening moments, he showed his quality later on with a couple of saves. I truly hope he isn’t pilloried beyond belief for today’s result. He’s still young, and he should still have a tremendous future for both England and club (although it’s clear that club won’t be Liverpool).
And while it’s not a time for laughing, I do find it funny that the NFL game between the Giants and Fins a couple of weeks back did such damage to the Wembley pitch that it impacted this match. Good work FA; I hope the quid were worth it.
That McClaren will certainly lose his job and that English Liverpool players will have the summer off are of little consolation. I care far more about Liverpool’s results than England, and will admit to being exceptionally frustrated with pretty much every facet of the national team, but as a fan, I’m beaten into submission and disappointed.
I’d also love to see Croatia do well at Euro 08; they’re a team that deserves to, who were playing their hearts out on the stage. And I also hope that their manager, Slavan Bilic, starts being considered for Premier League jobs when he’s ready, as he stated earlier in the week. He’s a hell of a manager.
I may have a longer requiem of both the game and England’s future, but now’s not the time.