After seemingly cruising to a comfortable win and qualification for the European Championship Finals next summer, England, out of the blue, gave away 2 goals in 3 minutes and were finally beaten 2-1 by Russia.
This sad result now means that qualification is no longer in England’s hands.
If Russia win their last two games against Israel (away) and Andorra (away), they will qualify with Croatia from the group.
Wayne Rooney – saint and sinner, wonderful goal but then clumsy tackle gave Russia vital penalty
After 29 minutes Michael Owen headed on a Micah Richards’ clearance and Wayne Rooney took it beautifully on his chest, and volleyed home into the roof of the net, for a magnificent goal . A truly great goal. It certainly looked like England could indeed qualify for the finals next year and at half time, Russia had been disappointing and well contained by England.
In the second half Diniyar Bilyaletdinov played a one-two with Andrei Arshavin and was through on goal but Sol Campbell stopped the Russian with a brilliantly-timed tackle.
Then with just 21 minutes to go and with everything seeming to be going well for England, a bad error by Rooney gave Russia a chance and a penalty. Wayne clumsily brought down Konstantin Zyrianov and it was a penalty. Substitute Roman Pavluchenko beat Paul Robinson easily from the penalty spot and Russia were right back in it.
It was only the 3rd goal England had conceded in qualifying. It was a desperate challenge from Rooney and very poor judgment, given that England were only 20 minutes from victory.
Then amazingly, 3 minutes later Russia went ahead. Goalkeeper Paul Robinson saved Konstantin Zyrianov’s shot, but the rebound went to Roman Pavlyuchenko’s and he stabbed the ball home from close range, for an amazing turnaround. Russia were suddenly 2-1 up after trailing 1-0 only 3 minutes previously.
Before the goals, Sol Campbell’s experience had twice saved England as he made two tremendous tackles to stop the Russian forwards. That should have been ample warning for England.
With just 10 minutes to go McClaren made a desperate triple substitution to try to save the game. Frank Lampard, Stewart Downing and Peter Crouch were brought on in place of Joleon Lescott, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Joe Cole.
England pressed for the equalizer but after 3 minutes of added time the referee blew the final whistle to signal a crushing defeat for England. The players have to take responsibility for choking, when they seemed so close to victory. These important games just seem too much for them to win, just like in the world cup last summer.
European qualification is now no longer in England’s hands. Russia will edge out England if they win their last two games against Israel (away) and Andorra (away), as we mentioned before.Â Â 🙁
ItÂ may also be appropriate to call time on McClarenâ€™s reign as England manager â€“ but then why the FA ever appointed Steve is still a mystery to lots of England fans. He has no previous record of accomplishment that gives him any qualification to be the England manager.
Steve is a good man, but he’s way out of his depth at this level, and this is what you get when faint hearted people at the FA take the easy way out. They appointed Steve early last year because he was the nominee that seemed to upset the least number of people.
We need to appoint an England manager who can get the best out of a group of players who are some of the best in the world. To not qualify for the European Championships next summer is just too much to take for many England fans.
Oh, one bit of good news – Michael Owen played the full game and seemed to come through it OK – at least he seems fit for Newcastle’s Monday game against Tottenham.
Team details:England: 1 Paul Robinson, (Tottenham Hotspur), 2 Micah Richards, (Manchester City), 3 Joleon Lescott, (Everton) (15 Frank Lampard, (Chelsea), 79) 4 Steven Gerrard (c), (Liverpool), 5 Rio Ferdinand, (Manchester United), 6 Sol Campbell, (Portsmouth), 7 Gareth Barry, (Aston Villa), 8 Shaun Wright Phillips, (Chelsea) (17 Stewart Downing, (Middlesbrough), 79) 9 Wayne Rooney, (Manchester United), 10 Michael Owen, (Newcastle United), 11 Joe Cole, (Chelsea) (18 Peter Crouch (Liverpool), 79)
Subs not used: 12 Nicky Shorey, (Reading),13 David James, (Portsmouth), 14 Luke Young, (Middlesbrough), 16 Phil Neville, (Everton).
Bookings: Rio Ferdinand (57 minutes), Wayne Rooney (67 minutes)
Head Coach: Steve McClaren
Russia: 30 Vladimir Gabulov, (Kuban Krasnodar), 27 Aleksei Berezutski (CSKA Moscow), 5 Sergei Ignashevich, (CSKA Moscow), 2 Vasili Berezutski, (CSKA Moscow) (7 Dmitri Torbinskiy, (Spartak Moscow), 46) 18 Yuri Zhirkov, (CSKA Moscow), 15 Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, (Lokomotiv Moscow), 20 Igor Semshov, (Dynamo Moscow), 17 Konstantin Zyrianov, (Zenit St Petersburg), 22 Aleksandr Anyukov, (Zenit St Petersburg), 10 Andrei Arshavin, (Zenit St Petersburg) (25 Denis Kolodin, (Dynamo Moscow), 89) 11 Aleksandr Kerzhakov, (Sevilla) (19 Roman Pavlyuchenko (Spartak Moscow), 45)
Subs not used: 16 Vyacheslav Malafeev, (Zenit St Petersburg), 13 Pavel Pogrebnyak, (Zenit St Petersburg), 14 Roman Shirokov, (Khimki), 26 Dmitri Sychev, (Lokomotiv Moscow).
Bookings: Vasili Berezutski (13 minutes), Roman Pavlyuchenko (74 minutes)Coach: Guus Hiddink