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Wednesday, 5 July, 2000, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
Clubs must learn from England exit
BBC TV football commentator John Motson says English players must learn some harsh lessons as he looks back at Euro 2000.
Of the 14 tournaments at this level I've covered for the BBC, starting with the 1974 World Cup, I would say Euro 2000 lives alongside the best.
Certainly, of the seven European Championships I've seen, it has been the best.
The England situation has been well documented. It has to be doubly disappointing, both on the tactical front and in terms of results.
The England team looked inferior in technique to most of the other sides.
What disappointed me most was that having beaten Germany, I honestly felt England would have at least the resolve they needed against Romania.
Looking back on that game, it was from England's point of view a shambles to lose it in the very last seconds.
There needs to be a long hard look - not just at the system in English football, but also to the time and attention we pay to the international team.
I just feel the temperament, technique, tactics and appreciation of the game of these players who play for other countries has now far exceeded that of English players.
The time has come for someone to ask the question: Should our players come back in the afternoon, and evening if necessary, to practice their skills?
It's really the first touch, the instant control of the ball and the ability to keep the ball and pass it properly that is letting us down.
We're giving it away too much, our football is too loose. We're playing in straight lines rather than moving around the pitch.
I think the lessons learned have not just got to be at schoolboy level, but at professional clubs where the priority seems to be to stumble on and play the next match.
The final was made in a way by France's late equaliser. The fact it forced extra time and they won with a genuine golden goal, and not a scrappy one, put the cap on the tournament quite perfectly.
Each semi-final had a dramatic finish, and the group matches were quite the opposite to past tournaments, when some teams have played for a draw or known a certain result would get them through.
France have proved they are the currently the most successful side in the world.
To secure the World Cup and European Championship double in that order is a unique feat.
But Germany, a formidable nation for more than 30 years, have suddenly lost the plot completely and on the form of the group matches, they are a poorer team at the moment than even England.
One of the reasons for the quality of football at Euro 2000 was the law changes that Fifa have made.
The fact defenders can no longer tackle from behind or tackle dangerously for fear of getting a yellow or red card has deterred them from dangerous play.
It was a fantastic championship - so good that I think domestic football will almost be an anti-climax when it comes back in August.
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