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Wednesday, 21 November 2007
European Championship 2008 Group E qualification match

England 2 Croatia 3 [0-2]

 

The National Stadium, Wembley, London
Attendance:
88,091; Kick-off: 8.00pm GMT;
Live on BBC One (UK) - Commentator: John Motson

Croatia - Niko Kranjčar (thirty-five yard shot fumbled by Carson 8 7:36), Ivica Olić (rounded Carson, five-yard tap-in 14 13:10), Mladen Petrić (twenty-five yard strike 77 76:37),
England - Frank Lampard (penalty 56 55:48), Peter Crouch (chest, then six-yard volley 65 64:25).
Match Summary
England Squad
Croatia Squad
Results 2005-2010 Croatia - Robert Kovač (32), Eduardo da Silva (50).

England kicked-off. 94 minutes (46 & 48).

 

Match Summary

 

Officials from Sweden

England

Type

Croatia

Referee (red) - Peter Fröjdfeldt 
44 (14 November 1963), Eskilstuna, FIFA-listed 2001;

Assistant Referees - Stefan Wittberg, 36 (2 September 1968) & Kenneth Petersson.

Fourth official - Martin Ingvarsson, 41 (9 December 1965).

UEFA Delegate - Wolfgang Thierrichter, Austria;
UEFA Referee Observer - Hans Reijgwart, Netherlands.

Teams presented to HRH Prince William.

8 Goal Attempts 13
4 Attempts on Target 7
0 Hit Bar/Post 1
3 Corner Kicks Won 6
3 Offside Calls Against 4
17 Fouls Conceded 20
54% Possession 46%

England Team

 

Rank:

FIFA (24th October 2007) 11th
ELO rating 8th
Colours: The 2007 home shirt - White shirts with red horizontal stripe with two navy Umbro diamonds/three lions abstracted side panel, white shorts with two navy blue Umbro diamonds, white socks with two navy Umbro diamonds and thin band.
Capt: Steven Gerrard, 6th captaincy. Coach: Steve McClaren, 45, appointed 4 May 2006, took post 1 August 2006, 
18th match, W 9 - D 4 - L 5 - F 32 - A 12.
England Lineup
1 Carson, Scott P. 22 3 September 1985 G Aston Villa FC on loan from Liverpool FC 2 3 GA
2 Richards, Micah L. 19 24 June 1988 RB Manchester City FC 11 1
3 Bridge, Wayne M. 27 5 August 1980 LB Chelsea FC 27 1
4 Gerrard, Steven G. 27 30 May 1980 M Liverpool FC 63 12
5 Lescott, Joleon P. 25 16 August 1982 CD Everton FC 4 0
6 Campbell, Sulzeer J. 33 18 September 1974 CD

Portsmouth FC

73 1
7 Barry, Gareth, off 46th min. 26 23 February 1981 DM Aston Villa FC 16 0
8 Lampard, Frank J. 29 20 June 1978 M

Chelsea FC

60 14
9 Crouch, Peter J. 26 30 January 1981 CF

Liverpool FC

24 14
10 Wright-Phillips, Shaun C., off 46th min. 26 25 October 1981 M Chelsea FC 18 3
11 Cole, Joseph J., off 80th min. 26 8 November 1981 M Chelsea FC 47 7
England Substitutes
17 Beckham, David R.J., on 46th min. for Barry 32 2 May 1975 M LA Galaxy, USA 99 17
16 Defoe, Jermain C., on 46th min. for Wright-Phillips 25 7 October 1982 F Tottenham Hotspur FC 26 3
18 Bent, Darren A., on 80th min. for Cole 23 6 February 1984 F Tottenham Hotspur FC 3 0

unused substitutes:

12-Ashley Cole, 13-David James, 14-Wes Brown, 15-Owen Hargreaves.
   
1st   4-1-4-1 Carson -
Richards, Campbell, Lescott, Bridge -
Barry -
Wright-Phillips, Gerrard, Lampard, Cole -
Crouch.
2nd   4-4-2 Carson -
Richards, Campbell, Lescott, Bridge -
Beckham, Gerrard, Lampard, Cole
(Bent) -
Defoe, Crouch.
For the last fifteen minutes, England played a 4-3-3 formation, following the introduction of Darren Bent, in place of Joe Cole.

Averages (Starting XI):

Age 26.0 Appearances/Goals 31.4 4.8

 

Croatia Team

 

Rank:

FIFA (24th October 2007) 10th
ELO rating 11th
Colours: Made by Nike - Blue shirts with red collar and red & white chequered side panel, blue shorts, blue socks with red/white chequered hoop;
Capt: Niko Kovač, aged 36 years, 38 days Coach: Slaven Bilić, 39 (11 September 1968), appointed 25 July 2006.
Croatia Lineup
1 Pletikosa, Stipe 28 8 January 1979 G FC Spartak Moskva, Russia 65 0
2 Šimić, Dario 32 12 November 1975 RB AC Milan SpA, Italy 95 3
3 Šimunić, Josip 29 18 February 1978 CD Hertha Berliner SC von 1892 eV, Germany 58 3
4 Kovač, Robert 33 16 April 1974 CD BV Borussia 1909 eV Dortmund, Germany 70 0
Kovač cautioned in the 32nd min. for Unsporting Behaviour.
5 Ćorluka, Vedran 21 5 February 1986 LB Manchester City FC, England 17 0
14 Modrić, Luka 22 9 September 1985 M NK Dinamo Zagreb 22 3
18 Olić, Ivica, off 84th min. 28 14 September 1979 F Hamburger SV eV, Germany 50 9
19 Kranjčar, Niko, off 75th min. 23 13 August 1984 M Portsmouth FC, England 38 5
22 Silva, Eduardo Alves da, off 69th min. 24 25 February 1983 F Arsenal FC, England 21 13
Eduardo cautioned in the 50th min. for Unsporting Behaviour, for a mis-timed tackle on Micah Richards.
10 Kovač, Niko 36 15 October 1971 M Red Bull Salzburg, Austria 73 12
11 Srna, Darijo 25 1 May 1982 M FC Shakhtar Donetsk, Ukraine 52 15
Croatia Substitutes
21 Petrić, Mladen, on 69th min. for Silva 26 1 January 1981 F BV Borussia 1909 eV Dortmund, Germany 20 8
24 Pranjić, Danijel, on 75th min. for Kranjčar 25 2 December 1981 M SC Heerenveen, Netherlands 7 0
7 Rakit, Ivan, on 84th min. for Olić 19 10 March 1988 M FC Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04 eV, Germany 5 1

unused substitutes:

8-Marko Babić, 13-Dario Kenezević, 16-Jerko Leko, 23-Vedran Runje.
   

4-4-2

Pletikosa -
Šimić,
R.Kovač, Šimunić, Ćorluka -
N.Kovač, Srna, Modrić, Kranjčar (Pranjić) -
Silva
(Petrić), Olić (Rakitić)

Averages (Starting XI):

Age 27.4 Appearances/Goals 51.0 5.7

 

    Match Report by Mike Payne

With England being thrown a great chance of qualification by Israel's surprise 2-1 win over Russia at the weekend, they took on Croatia at Wembley knowing they need only to draw to qualify.  But in a rollercoaster match England contrived to shoot themselves in the foot - Big Time!

Steve McLaren decided to pick the inexperienced Scott Carson in goal and after just eight minutes of the game the manager was regretting the selection.  Niko Kranjcar tried a speculative shot from distance and the ball bounced just in front of the goalkeeper.  Carson must have dealt with those sort of shots a thousand times before, but this time he allowed the greasy ball to glance off him and fly into the net.  Croatia could not believe their luck, and the England fans were stunned into silence.  Six minutes later the evening went from bad to worse.  Shaun Wright-Phillips wasted a fine chance of an instant equaliser when he blasted straight at goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa and almost immediately Croatia went two goals up. 

Eduardo Da Silva of Arsenal attacked the back-peddling England defence down the middle before releasing Ivica Olic.  Wright-Phillips in an unaccustomed right-back position tried to play offside but Wayne Bridge forgot to move and the Hamburg striker had an easy task to skip round Carson and score.

England were really up against it and as the half wore on there were no signs of an improvement.  Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard could find no joy in midfield, the defence looked vulnerable every time Croatia attacked and up front Peter Crouch had no support and no chance of scoring.  It was a nightmare for the fans watching and at half-time they inevitably booed their team from the field. 

McLaren at least realised that this desperate situation demanded a desperate remedy and at the restart he brought on David Beckham for Wright-Phillips and Jermaine Defoe for the ineffective Gareth Barry.  To be fair, Beckham's introduction did at least invigorate England and for the first time on the night Croatia looked a little rattled.  On 56 minutes the spell of pressure culminated in Josip Simunic tugging at Defoe's shirt in the penalty area.  The referee awarded England a penalty and although it looked a very soft decision, at this stage of the proceedings the home side were prepared to take anything they were given.  Lampard shouldered the responsibility and he made no mistake with the spot-kick.  Game on!

Suddenly the crowd were right behind their team and they were willing them to push forward.  Beckham was again at the heart of all the good things England mustered.  In the 65th minute that wonderful right-foot produced a trademark cross straight to Crouch who chested the ball down and crashed home an equaliser, his 14th goal for his country, and probably the most important.

So, with 25 minutes to go England were in a qualifying position, but hang on, there was still a sting in the tail to come.  Carson made a good save from Olic, Bridge, who had a very poor game, contrived to somehow hit his own crossbar with an attempted clearance, and then Croatia broke England hearts by scoring a third goal.  Substitute Mladen Petric took advantage of more England defensive failings by swinging his left boot from 20 yards to beat Carson all ends up. 

The utter disappointment at the end was stifling, but it has to be said that Croatia were far the better team and deserved their victory.  For England, the recriminations would start immediately.  Only Joe Cole, Crouch and Beckham can be satisfied with their contribution, whilst too many of their teammates had off days and should have a long hard look at themselves.  To be honest it was a day to forget, comparable to the Poland World Cup defeat of 1974.  Sir Alf Ramsey lost his job shortly after that game and a similar fate was to await Steve McLaren the day after the Croatia match.  The decision came as no real surprise, but who would be next to take up the England challenge remained to be seen?

Source Notes

BBC Sport
TheFA.com
SkySports.com/football
TheSun.co.uk
Mike Payne - football historian and contributor

____________________

CG