BBC Sport football

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 18:38 GMT, Wednesday, 17 October 2007 19:38 UK

BBC pundits on England

Chris Waddle
By Chris Waddle
Former England international & BBC Radio 5live pundit

England have had some famous nights to secure qualification for major tournaments.

There was the game against Italy in Rome and the draw with Turkey in Istanbul, while I remember playing in a crucial game against Poland.

The match against Russia in Moscow was supposed to join that list.

And it was going very well.

Although Russia had a lot of possession we controlled the first half and I was expecting a little bit more from Guus Hiddink's team in Moscow.

They had a spell of four or five minutes where they showed a bit, scored twice and changed the game.

England boss Steve McClaren
McClaren will be hammered by the English press
I feel sorry for Wayne Rooney, who was adjudged to have brought down Konstanin Zurianov when actually the initial tug was outside the box.

And then Paul Robinson made a howler as Russia scored their decisive second.

The Tottenham keeper parried Alexei Berezutsky's shot, pushing the ball away in front of him. Yet from an early age goalkeepers are taught to push the ball away from the danger zone.

England became a little gung-ho when they chased the game. There was no build-up and their play was very direct. They looked a bit nervy.

It is not all doom and gloom for England.

Russia still have to win in Israel, who are strong at home.

Only group leaders Croatia have won in Israel during this campaign, but it has to be said Russia will be on a high going into the game and know that a win will all but ensure they qualify.

Not qualifying for Euro 2008 will be a nightmare for England. It should be a national disaster.

It is often said that the Premier League is the best and most exciting league in the world - but if the England national team is not qualifying for a major tournament can that really be said to be true?

I hope we are there next year but if we are not then I want the powers that be to take note.

We are a hard-working team but we are not world class and we will not be until we improve out technical ability.

We have honesty, effort, fitness and good facilities but now we have to get the right structure. Where are the artists and the dribblers?

Obviously Steve McClaren is going to get hammered on the back of this result and if we don't qualify there will be huge pressure to replace him.

But if we do have a new manager he will still have to select from the same pool of players.

Chris Waddle was talking to Paul Fletcher.

Mark Lawrenson
By Mark Lawrenson
Match of the Day pundit

England have it all to do now - and their fate is no longer in their own hands.

Steven Gerrard (left) and Wayne Rooney
It was a sad end for Gerrard (left) and Rooney in Moscow
I thought England were really good for 69 minutes but then came the awful penalty decision.

The incident happened outside the area and I do not even think it was a foul.

I did not think that the artificial surface can be blamed at all for the result.

After a nervous start, England coped well with the surface in defensive terms and then started to pose a threat going forward.

Wayne Rooney's goal was absolutely outstanding and Steven Gerrard had a fantastic chance to extend the lead - and Russia would not have come back from that.

But if you look back at the qualifying campaign as a whole then I do not think that England's current predicament is a product so much of the defeat in Russia or the previous reverse against Croatia in Zagreb.

I think that the goalless draw at home to Macedonia might ultimately cost England qualification for Euro 2008.

Alan Hansen
By Alan Hansen
Match of the Day pundit

Having watched the game, I have to say that I think it is amazing England lost. They played really well for most of the game and were very unfortunate.

They looked nervous for the first five minutes but after that it was all about organisation, discipline and big hearts.

There were some magnificent performances from the likes of Gareth Barry and Sol Campbell.

But you would have to say that the chance Steven Gerrard missed early in the second half was absolutely massive, while Micah Richards had a good opportunity to score as well.

Up until 69 minutes you could not see how Russia would get back into the game but it was a terrible decision for the penalty kick and then Paul Robinson spilled a shot.

The goalkeeper has had a hard time of late and there were questions as to whether or not he should have been playing.

The only thing I would say about the penalty decision is that I have no idea why Wayne Rooney was in the left-back position.

see also
Russia 2-1 England
17 Oct 07 |  Internationals
Loss in Russia mystifies McClaren
17 Oct 07 |  Internationals
Russia v England photos
17 Oct 07 |  Football
Comment: McClaren future bleak
17 Oct 07 |  Football
Euro 2008 tables
22 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Euro 2008 qualifying as it happened
17 Oct 07 |  Internationals
England 3-0 Estonia
13 Oct 07 |  Internationals
Pick your England XI
31 Aug 07 |  Internationals

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites