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Croatia 2-0 England
By Phil McNulty

Paul Robinson
Paul Robinson is disconsolate after Gary Neville's freak own goal
Paul Robinson was left embarrassed as England crashed to a dismal defeat against Croatia in the Euro 2008 qualifier in Zagreb.

Eduardo's header had given Croatia a deserved 61st-minute lead before keeper Robinson was involved in a nightmare moment eight minutes later.

Gary Neville's back-pass struck a divot as Robinson went to clear, and he watched in agony as the ball rolled in.

Robinson had previously produced a string of saves to keep Croatia at bay.

England coach Steve McClaren's tactical re-shuffle to a 3-5-2 formation was brutally exposed as his side barely mounted an attack worthy of the name.

And on the back of a poor performance in the goalless draw against Macedonia at Old Trafford, it left McClaren's supposedly brave new era looking distinctly underwhelming.

606 VIEW

England's revamped system produced few serious attacking options in a first 45 minutes in which only the excellence of goalkeeper Robinson kept England on level terms.

He was in action as early as the sixth minute, diving low to save from Eduardo.

Robinson produced a wonderful block to stop England going behind midway through the first half when Niko Kranjcar stole in on Milan Rapaic's cross with a volley from only eight yards.

Rapaic was causing real problems for Ashley Cole, and it needed a desperate block from Rio Ferdinand to stop Kranjcar's shot after a cross was only half-cleared.

Croatia continued to dominate after the break, and it needed another fine save from Robinson to keep out Mladen Petric's header.

Wayne Rooney had been quiet again, but he almost broke his lengthy international goal drought with a trademark burst on to Peter Crouch's header, but he shot over the bar.

Croatia deserved to be ahead, and they finally broke the deadlock after 61 minutes, when the diminutive Eduardo rose easily above the disappointing Cole to head home Niko Kovac's long cross.

And Croatia doubled their lead in farcical fashion after 69 minutes in a remarkable incident involving the previously outstanding Robinson.

Robinson moved to clear Neville's back-pass, but the ball hit a divot on the six-yard line and bobbled embarrassingly over his foot.

The desperate McClaren then made a triple change, sending on Jermain Defoe, Kieran Richardson and Shaun Wright-Phillips for Crouch, Scott Parker and Jamie Carragher.

It was a clear sign of just how poor England had been - and McClaren's game-plan will rightly attract a torrent of criticism.

Croatia: Pletikosa, Simic, Simunic, Robert Kovac, Corluka, Rapaic (Olic 76), Nico Kovac, Modric, Kranjcar (Babic 89), Eduardo (Leko 81), Petric. Subs not used: Runje, Knezevic, Seric, Klasnic.

Booked: Nico Kovac.

Goals: Eduardo 61, Gary Neville 69 og.

England: Robinson, Carragher (Wright-Phillips 73), Ferdinand, Terry, Gary Neville, Carrick, Parker (Defoe 72), Lampard, Cole, Rooney, Crouch (Richardson 72). Subs not used: Kirkland, Jenas, Bent.

Booked: Ferdinand, Cole.

Att: 38,000.

Ref: Roberto Rosetti (Italy).

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