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Column: Sven Wouldn't Lose Like That

Yet another example from the world of soccer that hindsight is 20/20: Guardian columnist Rob Smyth says "England would never, ever have lost this badly under the managership of Sven-Goran Eriksson. This was a shambles; a proper doing; a miserable, cowering performance that evoked the darkest days of Graham Taylor -- chiefly the dismal 2-0 defeat in Norway in 1993." Clearly, Smyth forgets England's appalling performance in a 1-0 loss to Northern Ireland in Belfast one year ago. To be sure, there were other bad performances by England under Eriksson, but England may have never looked quite as disorganized as it did against Croatia on Wednesday. The 3-5-2, which in execution was played more like a defensive-minded 5-3-2, crowded the center of midfield and never allowed England to play the ball into its forwards with any kind of support. Nevertheless, McClaren has time and space to right his wrongs: England is one of four teams tied with seven points atop the underwhelming Group E, although Croatia and Israel have a game in hand. England's next Euro 2008 qualifier, away to Israel, isn't until March. However, "It was not supposed to be like this," laments Smyth. "The idea was that a proper manager - someone like Martin O'Neill, say -- would take England to the next level."

Read the whole story at The Guardian »

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