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England Aftermath: What the Papers Said

Blame culture, indeed. The Guardian puts Steve Pearce's English blame test to the test by excerpting reactions to England's 2-0 loss to Croatia from Britain's major newspapers. "If there has been a lower ebb in the tide of English football, please remind me," says Steven Howard of The Sun. He blamed the formation: "If you are going to play 3-5-2, you stick at it. Having taken the gamble, you have to have the confidence to push the wing-backs forward. Apart from one brief spell in the first half, Ashley Cole and Gary Neville found themselves playing in a back five." Owen Holt of the Daily Mirror also blamed McClaren's formation: "Asked to play a 3-5-2 system by McClaren, they performed in the first 30 minutes like strangers in a daze. If McClaren had asked them to sing Merry Christmas in Urdu, they could hardly have looked more baffled." James Lawton of the Independent dug into the entire team: "England's world-class players, if they indeed exist, were in hiding again. One conclusion is hard to ignore. It is that at present they seem incapable of doing anything more than embarrassing the nation -- and themselves." Alan Hansen of the Telegraph put it to England's three-man midfield: "Michael Carrick was nonexistent last night. He has got to start believing he is a big player and demanding the ball. Scott Parker and Frank Lampard looked lost in a system they did not seem to believe in." But Brian Woolmough of the Daily Star believes it all falls on one man: "England coach McClaren must shoulder all the blame on a night of complete humiliation for English football. This was McClaren's first big test and he failed miserably. Wrong team, wrong tactics, worng motivation -- wrong manager. He will be lucky to still be in charge when Israel and Andorra come round next March."

Read the whole story at The Guardian »

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