November 21st, 2007, the night that England failed to qualify for the European Championships. The night they failed to fire on all cylinders and grab that last lifeline thrown their way, even thou they didn’t deserve it might I add. The night that they lost a game to a team which had nothing to lose, had already qualified, said they were going to be happy with a point, at HOME, in front of their own fans, in a newly built Wembley.
Steve McLaren mind you, masterminded their downfall. He started the game with a unfamiliar formation of 4-5-1. He started a game which he, rather England desperetaly needed to avoid defeat in. A game which they should have gone at all guns firing. Especially as I have already stated they were playing with a team which had nothing to lose. The Croats got the better of McLaren’s thought process ( if he has any ). Sure a good number of his first choice were injured. But why did he opt not to start with Beckham, in this extremely crucial game? Why did he choose 5 midfielders and leave a striker like Defoe out? Why was he making bloody notes in the rain when his team were 2 goals down instead of passionately getting the lads to get a move on? Never have I seen such display of absolute ridiculous managerial tactics as I did in this match. The FA were right to sack him immediately, although good old Steve was ‘Not going to step down, or give up’. If only such optimism was there from the start of the match, the result might have been different. Mind you, I was happy England didn’t go through, but not for the fact that it was England, but for the fact that the team didn’t deserve to qualify frankly, and that too because of McLaren, and him alone. The FA were actually not in their right minds when they picked him from Boro ( mind you I think they did Middlesbrough a huge favor thou) .
All that said, it is still a sad notion to have the European championships without England. Without the likes of Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard or even David Beckham. I feel sorry for the English fans. They deserve better. A sport which that country loves like a religion. I associate such passion only with Cricket when it comes to the national level. And I can understand their pain, as I go through pretty much the same with Pakistan. But I really do sympathize with them. They really do deserve better, better than good old Steve.
Now that England are not in the qualifiers, I have a feeling that the FA are going to have a rather hard time finding a good coach in this period. Considering that the international dates are pretty much free, the slots are not filled , and don’t particularly have chance to be filled before the World Cup qualifiers begin. So all you who are dreaming of the “Special One” to fill the position and be thy savior, think again. He is smarter than to throw away his Career to a national coaching job at such a time. He could easily get a job at the next big club, that were out their. And much less a national coaching job for a team which has nothing for the next 2 years at least.
I also sincerely hope the FA don’t overreact to this and do something rash in the form of an ongoing debate this season of limiting overseas players in the premier league teams. Their argument of giving the local lads more chances to play will not work in their favor, as they already play against each other, much of the quality of the Premier League comes from the overseas players, and removing them would only mean them playing against each other only. That wouldn’t help improve the team. That would only make it less competitive and weaker. And would make the Premier League much more less attractive on a lot of counts which will only hurt the FA.
Anyway lads, to wrap it up, I once again say, The English and especially McLaren got what was coming to them. Too bad they didn’t take the lifelines thrown their way. Cheers!