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England short of ideas
by Paul Kennedy, October 12th, 2010 9:03PM

TAGS:  england, european championship


[EURO 2012 QUALIFYING] After three straight wins in post-World Cup activity, England was brought back to earth when it was held to a 0-0 tie by Montenegro, the first opponent to hold it scoreless at the new Wembley Stadium.

The lack of creativity that plagued England in South Africa was evident on Tuesday as it failed to break down the Montenegro defense packed with nine players.

Wayne Rooney was again a shadow of his former self, unable to break down the opposing defense.

"We knew England's strengths and we had a plan to avoid defeat and we made that plan work," Montenegro coach Zlatko Kranjcar said. "England dictated the tempo of the game but their attacking was only as good as we allowed it to be. We were very aware of their attacking skills, especially on the wings, but we were prepared for that, which maybe surprised them. We also knew how to stop Rooney in that playmaking position when he tried to get between the midfield and the center backs."

Kranjcar, the former Croatia coach whose son Niko plays for Croatia and Tottenham, knew how to shut down England.

"What was really important were the two games in the last World Cup qualifying campaign when England destroyed Croatia with pace out wide with Aaron Lennon and Theo Walcott," he said. "My solution was to fill that gap on the flanks. When that happens England are less efficient."

The tie followed three wins for Montenegro, the surprise of Euro 2012 qualifying to date.

Montenegro started D.C. United midfielder Branko Boskovic but it was playing without star forward Mirko Vucinic.

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