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Thursday, November 18, 1999 Published at 08:55 GMT


Keegan insists England can triumph

Don Hutchison scores for Scotland as England struggle to hang on

England coach Kevin Keegan has insisted his side can bring back the European Championship from the Netherlands and Belgium next summer.

Battle of Britain
"I know you'll laugh," he said after the lacklustre display which saw England qualify at Scotland's expense.

"But we have a chance to win it."


[ image: Keegan: Now is the time to experiment]
Keegan: Now is the time to experiment
His comments came after England's 2-1 aggregate win was secured in the most unconvincing way imagineable.

Scotland won 1-0 in the second leg of the play-off at Wembley, with Everton striker Don Hutchison's 39th-minute header enough to earn their first win at Wembley for 18 years.

The visitors were unlucky not to force extra time and even victory, in a game which saw England fail to register a shot on target.

After losing his eight game unbeaten record as coach, Keegan conceded that the critics would "slaughter" his side's performance.

"We've got a lot of things to improve but we have got some quality in there," he said.


[ image: David Seaman celebrates after denying the Scots again]
David Seaman celebrates after denying the Scots again
"We stumbled along and kept hanging in. The one thing we showed is a lot of character as Scotland gave us a bit of a pummelling.

"It was a tough old night. As I suspected, the Scots threw caution to the wind and we hardly had any possession.

"But there were a lot of good points from my point of view. A few of the guys stood up and were counted but four or five of them didn't play as I know they can."

Left in trouble

Keegan is aware that his side - containing some of the Premiership's biggest stars - gives the ball away far too much, and is also unbalanced on the left-hand side.

"It's been difficult trying to qualify and experiment at the same time," he explained.

"Now we have room to do that and it's my plan to work on the left side of the team. That's the most important area that we need to work on.


[ image: Adams: Immense performance culimnated in saving tackle]
Adams: Immense performance culimnated in saving tackle
"We've got three or four games to try and balance the left side out and try out other people."

Keegan was keen to pay tribute to David Beckham's work-rate, but also to the efforts of his two Arsenal veterans, whose efforts denied a Christian Dailly header and Billy Dodds run in the final quarter of an hour.

"In the end, it was about saves and tackles that kept us in the tie.

"David Seaman has taken a lot of stick but he showed how good he is with that save from Dailly," added the England coach.

"Tony Adams had us all gasping on the bench when he made that tackle. It was so well timed and sometimes a moment like that is almost worth a goal.

"That tackle tells you how much Tony Adams wanted to get to Euro 2000."





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