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Croatia: Stop Beckham, Stop England

Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham has been identified as the danger man in England's final European Championship qualifier Wednesday  against Croatia. England needs a draw or a win to advance to the finals next summer.
According to Croatia scout Goran Vucevic, who was on hand Friday as England beat Austria, 1-0, Steve McClaren's Lions are a one-trick team. He says the only real threat comes from Beckham's crossing ability. "I watched England in Vienna and they didn't show much development from when we beat them in Zagreb [in October 2006]," Vucevic said. "The one thing we must do is stop Beckham. He can put the ball on [Peter] Crouch's eyebrows and that can be dangerous."

Beckham's crossing is particularly dangerous when you a have a player like the 6-foot-7 Crouch. Reports in England indicate that Crouch will play as a lone striker supported by a five-man midfield. It's uncertain whether Beckham will start, although he is likely to come an as substitute if England fails to take control of the match.

"David Beckham is a fantastic player," Crouch said. "If you have someone like that in the side, I know I just need to get in the box because if he can find half a yard, he is going to whip a cross in. He is still one of the best at delivering set pieces or out wide, and for someone like myself, who scores the majority of goals from crosses, he is certainly a player to have."

Read the whole story at Independent »

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