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Mac Is Back In Town (Eng Preview)

Italy’s second goal on Saturday pretty much consigned Euro 2008 to a dim and distant memory for me. As a Brit, I had obviously been rooting for Scotland to make it through to the Finals – not only did they deserved it but I needed someone to follow next summer!

Up steps Israel's Omer Golan, my precious, to resurrect my, by that stage long-gone, opinion that, despite Brazil never having won it, the European Championships is a tournament worth being part of after all. As an Englishman, I was ecstatic– it was like being told you could stay up an extra hour as a child or being allowed to play with the big kids.

McClaren couldn’t bear to watch the final throes of the game and spent what were probably the last 10 minutes of his reign as England Manager on another throne – let’s hope he can stay on the touchline tonight but if you think it will be a nail-biter then there’s 9/4 available for England to scrape the point they need with a draw. (Odds available at: www.williamhill.co.uk )

Macca was on his last legs in the job because he had, to all intents and purposes, failed to get England to qualify for next summer’s Finals. Why then should a great performance by Israel make him a better candidate for the job? England’s qualification for the finals tonight will probably cloud the issue as to whether he’s the right man or not but my advice to Steve would be a little security investment on Croatia to win at 7/1. That could keep the family fed for a while.

“What’s happening tonight? “ you ask. Have a word! It’s only England’s most important game since... well, the last really important last-ditch attempt to qualify for a tournament. Everyone knows that it’s the getting there that counts not the taking part. Those quarterfinal defeats (traditionally involving penalties) are becoming a little predictable. You could brighten up the inevitable disappointment by picking up the 7/4 winner that Hills are offering for England to be knocked out in that round of Euro 2008 – if they get there. A draw would be enough to qualify – a win could see them top the group! Could you have imagined that on Saturday morning? But there are still decisions for McClaren to make.

With just the one proven striker available, with Rooney and Owen injured, Peter Crouch is likely to start up front by himself and is 6/1 to score the first goal and 6/4 to score anytime. Despite attempts to keep the starting line up a secret it is expected that Shaun Wright-Phillips will start on the right with David Beckham on the bench. If Croatia have got their sights set too high on Crouch then the diminutive winger could sneak in under the radar and score first at 14/1 (11/2 anytime). On the other side of the pitch, Joe Cole is due a goal for England having not found the back of the net since his cracking effort out of nothing against Estonia in June.

Tensions will be running high; Croatia are 8/15 to receive the first card while England, with so much more to play for, are 17/10. The same prices are available for the last card and Total Booking Points to exceed 45 can be taken at 2/1. Let’s hope it’s going to be a stroll in the park for the boys sporting the Three Lions – otherwise it could be a little crowded in the Wembley toilets this evening.

For odds from Vital Football betting partners William Hill, go to:www.williamhill.co.uk

So what do you think, will England provide the great escape and qualify now they have this second chance? If they do, should McClaren remain as manager or should the FA be looking for a new man?





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The Journalist

Writer: William Hill Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday November 21 2007

Time: 4:02PM

Your Comments

I've had a fiver on England to score a penalty at 5/1. Dunno why, but I just fancied looking for some value and that jumped out at me.
DeanoVilla
Be interesting to see the reaction the players and more importantly the manager gets tonight. They need to get off to a quick start. A bet for Crouch as first scorer + a gamble on Barry to make the odds interesting looks ok to me! Might put a fiver on Mickey Mouse to be the next England manager as well.
The Fear
I'm going for a 2-0 England win and Crouch first scorer. Pretty safe bet i think. Though i'd love Barry to get on the score sheet.
MattUTV
Garteh Barry to score with a free kick, 3-1 England.
son_of_cher
Oh and Carson to save a penalty!
son_of_cher
England to lose, Russia to only draw. England consequently to progress. Whats the odds?
glensider
OMG...!!Carson"s a MONG....!!
chalky76
Scott Carson what a keeper, Robbo is back in town.
TergeHauge
Carson was not at his best tonight but in all honesty who was... The Croats waltzed through the England defence like it was static... which for the most part it was....
col8
I'm off to Poland next summer. My gf is Polish and the bars out there will be far more up for it than they will be here. COME ON POLAND!!!!!
Adam Deuce
RIP English football. My one only hope is that MON isn't stupid enough to take on that bunch of clowns. No one can blame Carson for the defeat, yes it was a schoolboy error but we would have lost even if that had never have happened. Englnd til we die
MattUTV
What a totally inept performance. We got what we deserved, not only for tonights shambles, but for a campaign littered with sub-standard individual and team performances. We are no longer major players on the international stage. We aren't good enough. We weren't good enough. Goodnight Vienna.
glensider
Matt-erm no we wouldnt of lost,we would of drew 2-2 & qualified..!!
chalky76
chalky you are a tittt. There's no blame for all of robinsons howlers throughout the other 11 qualification games? Truth is he was replaced earlier we might not have needed a result last night.
The Usual Suspect
*if he was replaced
The Usual Suspect
Is it only me thinking that Carson's price from Liverpool should come down now?
VillaYamYam
macs got the sack hope they leave mon alone
claretandblue
Oh dear... Well, after a night of restless sleep I had a chance to think things over and can't help but think that Slavan Bilik might be able to tell us a thing or two about the game we invented. His pre and post match talks were pretty confident and he said the same thing in both: England just are not good enough at the national level. Of course, everyone will say this now we haven't qualified. But things looked worrying a long time before last nights debacle and i'm not sure any lessons were learned along the way. One thing that really stuck in my head were the comments made by a certain German legend about how the England team don't talk to each other any more. I saw NO natural on-field leadership out there last night. After Carsons howler it was clear he had lost all his confidence and was a complete liability! However after the half way break he looked strong again and that is most likely to do with something one of the backroom staff said to him. Why did Gerrard or even Barry not run over to the kid, slap him round the face and say "you are still a great keeper and we need you to stay focussed so we can get back in this match." The fact that no one did this until half time says a lot about the mental side of the English game. It seems to me that this has been one major flaw in our national game that has yet to be addressed - maybe because it is incredibly difficult! How do you make a multi-million pound player care about something any more than they already do. How can you instill appetite? No man manager in the world can breed that in a player. If it isn't there. it isn't there. I knew from the moment that we walked out last night that something was off. I was already a bit nervy following Gerrards completely anemic pre-match press conference where he appeared to read his lines off an autocue! But when I saw Gerrards face leading the line I turned to my mate and said "we don't look up for this." And we weren't. As Villa fans we have lot to worry about now. Will MON stay? Will Carsons confidence be affected? Will Barrys? However, we also have a lot of players in our team with appetite and so can still look forward to our season as Villa fans, even if we have to put our national ambitions on hold for 3 years. Providing we have players like Laursen, Young, Gabby and Gardner, players that really love and care about their football, we can achieve something in the near future. So lets get behind Barry and especially Carson and make them realise that VILLA IS THE FUTURE!
simonbigron
 

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