Football

The Most Memorable Moments From England's Qualifying Collapse Against Croatia

The Most Memorable Moments From England's Qualifying Collapse Against Croatia

Today is the tenth anniversary of one of the most infamous nights in England's modern football history: their 3-2 defeat to Croatia at Wembley which consigned them to missing out on a place at Euro 2008.

Under Steve McClaren, England needed just a point to qualify for the tournament, but fell behind early to goals from Nico Kranjcar and Ivica Olic. England, however, heroically levelled the game. Lampard halved the deficit from the penalty spot, before David Beckham floated a ball perfectly for Peter Crouch to control the ball and stab home.

The elation curdled soon after, however, when Mladen Petric own the game out of nowhere, rifling home outside of the penalty area. It was an amazing game, here are the highlights:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxXba_ENkDE&t=314s

It was a frenzied, extraordinary night, and here we reflect on some of its most memorable moments.

'Whatever you can do, I can do worse' 

Champions League-winning goalkeeper Scott Carson got the nod ahead of Paul Robinson for this critical game, the latter having committed this dreadful error in the initial game in Zagreb.

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Carson, however, wasted little time in dropping a bollock of his own, inexplicably letting a tame Kranjcar shot bounce off him and into the net.

Sol Campbell's infinite slide

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Poetic.

The Wally with the Brolly

Steve McClaren seems inextricable with England's misery; any time England suffer humiliation, McClaren usually follows as a kind of gloomy, blundering Forrest Gump. The most recent example is the TV Moment of 2016, as McClaren reacted live to Iceland's second goal against England at Euro 2016.

But prior to this, McClaren was much closer to the action. His England reign ended in the rain, at Wembley, as he looked on uselessly, holding nothing but an umbrella and a cup of tea.

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He was eviscerated in the press afterward, with one newspaper headline in the Daily Mail screaming "The Wally With A Brolly". Poor Shteve felt the full force of the vituperative English press, with Martin Samuel writing in the Daily Mail that "the umbrella Steve McClaren hid under last night might have protected him from the rain, but nothing else. Not the shower of abuse that descended from an angry Wembley crowd. Not the verdict that will rate him as the worst England coach in history. Certainly not the sack. England's European Championship journey ended last night and so, surely, did McClaren's brief but difficult tenure".

Jeff Powell wrote in the same paper that "unforgivable is how this pathetic betrayal will be received by the nation which gave this game to the world", in trademark Daily Mail fashion.

Poor Steve.

Roy Keane can't help himself 

These were the days of Roy Keane's Sunderland reign, and in a press conference after this game, he couldn't help but give England a blast of The Truth.

I do believe there are too many egos about in the England set-up and that has cost them dear.

Without a doubt [they lack hunger to succeed at international level], and I believe you could see that with England. The players could talk all day and say, 'No', but you judge them by their actions.

With the top players nowadays, the clubs would be the priority, without a doubt. I have to be careful about what I say about international football, but in the modern day, clubs will be the priority.

I am sure they do love playing for their countries, but I watched some of them being interviewed after the game and you could see in their attitude, players are losing the love of playing for their countries.

There is only Scotland where they all seem to want to turn up.

Not that Keane could revel in England's despair for too long: that weekend, his Sunderland side went to play David Moyes' Everton...and got tonked 7-1.

See Also: Eamon Dunphy Backs Stephen Kenny To Be The Next Ireland Manager

 

Gavin Cooney
Article written by
Changed the spelling of his name upon pressure from Michael Owen.

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