England Choke in Russia – Lose 2-1

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.   🙁

It  may also be appropriate to call time on McClaren’s reign as England manager – 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

Comments welcome.

48 comments so far

  • Arthur Prince

    Oct 17, 2007 at 6:46 PM

    Comment #1

    Oh Dear !
    Just hope the FA dont come knocking on BSA s door !!!!

  • Callum

    Oct 17, 2007 at 6:47 PM

    Comment #2

    Shouldnt have been a penalty 🙁

  • Mighty Mouse

    Oct 17, 2007 at 6:52 PM

    Comment #3

    there is a no england clause in BSA’s contract. Finally a contractual clause we can feel good about

  • Ed Harrison

    Oct 17, 2007 at 6:52 PM

    Comment #4

    Callum – it was a penalty – because the referee gave it.

  • Arthur Prince

    Oct 17, 2007 at 6:53 PM

    Comment #5

    What would the reaction have been by substituing Stevie Gerrard with Frankie Lampard!! I didnt think Gerrards driving force way of playing came off at all today . H e seemed very sluggish to me this afternoon

  • Ed Harrison

    Oct 17, 2007 at 6:54 PM

    Comment #6

    Hopefully the FA will not appoint Sam – because he’s too truthful and would tell them some home truths. Anyway they had their chance with Sam – I’m sure he wants to stay at Newcastle – he has the perfect job.

  • Arthur Prince

    Oct 17, 2007 at 6:55 PM

    Comment #7

    I do hope so Ed . If given the time and takes the Sir A lec Ferguson approach to the team players etc etc then we will do very well in the coming years .

  • Ed Harrison

    Oct 17, 2007 at 6:56 PM

    Comment #8

    I’m really annoyed at the FA. They have no guts to make the right appointment as manager. They are too worried about upsetting people – we should get the best manager available – whoever that is. This defeat reflects their lack of courage when they appointed Steve.
    Jose Mourinho would be good. 😀 He would shake things up – but too much for the FA methinks.

  • toonUSA

    Oct 17, 2007 at 7:00 PM

    Comment #9

    Well then we won’t have to worrie about Mr. Owen after all…

  • Bill f

    Oct 17, 2007 at 7:05 PM

    Comment #10

    From the report, (I havn’t seen anything of match) Robinsons save didn’t sound like a save if the ball rebounded to a russian player. Bit suspect there, if so is he the man for the job? I would be surprised if Steve is kicked out yet so we should be OK for a while to keep Sam.

  • Ross

    Oct 17, 2007 at 7:06 PM

    Comment #11

    fair enough the referees decision is final, but to say “it was a penalty” i feel is wrong.
    the foul was outside the box, it was definitly a free kick. it was not a penalty however in my view and i think many will agree.
    we now have to hope that russia slip up against israel away. lets be honest, andorra away the points SHOULD be secure.
    probably the first and last time i’ll be behind israel :/..but lets hope they do us a favour, 🙁

  • Graham

    Oct 17, 2007 at 7:18 PM

    Comment #12

    What is this a Newcastle site or an England one? I for one couldnt give a toss if we don’t make it – we are a very average side at best – unless there is a manager there who can make some very strong team selections.

    I would rather see Newcastle win a corner than England win the Euro 2008 trophy!!!

    At least Owen will have the summer off next year…

    Allardyce will never be England manager because he says exactly what he thinks. And sometimes more than once…

  • yemozone

    Oct 17, 2007 at 7:20 PM

    Comment #13

    i’m not English but i think england needs scolari.He has done it for brazil and he is doing a good job in portugal.I think if England come knocking,he will probably join……Then portugal will just appoint mourinho.

    Or guys what do u think

  • yemozone

    Oct 17, 2007 at 7:22 PM

    Comment #14


  • Jinal

    Oct 17, 2007 at 7:25 PM

    Comment #15
  • Bill f

    Oct 17, 2007 at 7:27 PM

    Comment #16

    Georgia are winning 2-0 with about 25 minutes to go. If anyone is interested.

  • yemozone

    Oct 17, 2007 at 7:55 PM

    Comment #17

    Thanks jinal.

    That wasn’t a penalty.It was outside the box

  • Tom_Toon

    Oct 17, 2007 at 8:10 PM

    Comment #18

    Yemozone England arent getting my manager (portugal), i watched the Georgia match some really good players today, expecially Jaba Kankava, deep lying playmaker, basically Butt+Emre in one. If that can be done, might look a bit odd, their positions not styles etc.

  • ALEX

    Oct 17, 2007 at 8:10 PM

    Comment #19

    Don’t worry we would not loose to Russia at home.
    Good thing to see Owen finish the game alright.

    Hope to see Barton play the next game.

  • mo

    Oct 17, 2007 at 8:15 PM

    Comment #20

    Harper would have saved it

  • Bill f

    Oct 17, 2007 at 8:19 PM

    Comment #21

    Tom-Toon Thought their 17 year old striker looked good, might be worth Sam looking at.

  • ToonKing

    Oct 17, 2007 at 8:21 PM

    Comment #22

    England were awful today, a bunch of headless chickens, they played like Lichtenstein for god’s sake with 10 men behind the ball, only Owen was up front.
    The penalty wasn’t a penalty but who cares, Gerrard was nowhere, Richards and Lescott lost the game imo, they drifted into the middle all the time and gave to much room to the russian wingers while at the same time crowding the middle and making a mess. Only good was Joe Cole imo, and SWP was decent too.

    Anyways the only thing i care about is than Owen made it through in one piece and i can’t wait for monday.

  • toonUSA

    Oct 17, 2007 at 8:21 PM

    Comment #23

    just saw the highlights and looks to me good ol Robinson is keeping his club form at the internationals……i thought keepers are thought if you can’t catch it then punch it away…. oh well

  • Bill f

    Oct 17, 2007 at 8:21 PM

    Comment #24

    Bit like Van Nistleroy (can’t remember exact spelling)

  • Bill f

    Oct 17, 2007 at 8:23 PM

    Comment #25

    Toon-USA, thanks as I suspected.

  • Hammy

    Oct 17, 2007 at 8:27 PM

    Comment #26

    England need a complete overhaul….I’d put a few Championship players in
    and drop half the billionaires who think they can just turn up to win games.
    England have went backwards in the last 10 years where other Nations have improved no end. Typical England…invent a game…..and 150 years later get turned over by a country with a population of 3000. (don’t worry they will..)

  • Hammy

    Oct 17, 2007 at 8:28 PM

    Comment #27

    Oh, and Robinson is f%$king sh&te!!!!

    We no longer have a decent keeper, I’d pick Harper myself.

  • ToonKing

    Oct 17, 2007 at 8:31 PM

    Comment #28

    When was the last time England had a decent keeper ????

  • Bill f

    Oct 17, 2007 at 8:33 PM

    Comment #29

    Hammy I would have to agree, any other country in Europe seem to have players who look comfortable on the ball whereas ours don’t seem to have a clue. I get so pi**ed off with seeing our teams getting the runaround by the Outer Mongolians and the like. Scotland were just as bad today.

  • Bill f

    Oct 17, 2007 at 8:35 PM

    Comment #30

    As for Robinson I said the same as Hammy the other day, Harper would be far better

  • Hammy

    Oct 17, 2007 at 8:36 PM

    Comment #31

    ToonKing… Ray Clemence would be my pick.

  • Hammy

    Oct 17, 2007 at 8:37 PM

    Comment #32

    Quite agree Bill…

  • Bill f

    Oct 17, 2007 at 8:51 PM

    Comment #33

    Just as a matter of interest Hammy what would your Championship England Eleven be?

    Time for heroes so if you post a reply I’ll catch it later.

  • toonUSA

    Oct 17, 2007 at 9:11 PM

    Comment #34

    on the bright side of things our next oponents are going to bring with them Mr Robinson and i hope big sam tells the lads to put on their shooting boots ….

    horray da toon

  • ToonKing

    Oct 17, 2007 at 9:26 PM

    Comment #35

    @hammy: Yeah good pick, but he retired, when ?? 1987-88 i think, so england are without a keeper for 20 years. lol

    I would call up Harper, from what i’ve seen from him this season alone, he’s miles better the “Robbo” .

  • Tom from Aus

    Oct 17, 2007 at 10:06 PM

    Comment #36

    well the england U19’s won!

  • valle

    Oct 17, 2007 at 10:10 PM

    Comment #37

    Player for player, i think England has the best squad in the world, but that dosnt mean that u are playing the best football in the world and u just never seem to get anything out of all that talent… Anyway, its kinda pissing on NUFC to play Owen for 90 minutes on that pitch only 4 days after he played 70 minutes and with his injury record… im seething

  • Toon Chicken

    Oct 17, 2007 at 11:24 PM

    Comment #38

    Robinson has been an accident waiting to happen for months, years even. He should have been dropped long ago.

    Gerrard missed a sitter.


  • leo

    Oct 18, 2007 at 12:03 AM

    Comment #39

    was a complete bore watching it, seriously we cannot put a series of passes together at all. unless we are going backwards. or bootin it up the fieild only to have our header go to their player….

  • Big Sam Fan

    Oct 18, 2007 at 1:30 AM

    Comment #40

    england 4-holland 1 was the last time i really enjoyed watching our national side. SAS up front…. total domination…… and Shearer with his arm aloft!!!


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