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Wednesday, 11 October, 2000, 18:26 GMT 19:26 UK
Can England still qualify?
David Seaman and Andy Cole
England's woeful form in the two qualifying matches for the 2002 World Cup means they now face the prospect of not making the trip to South Korea and Japan.

What do you think?


A 1-0 defeat by Germany in Wembley's farewell match prompted Kevin Keegan to walk out - and four days later England struggled to a 0-0 draw in Helsinki.

At no time in either match have the side looked capable of taking control of a game and scoring the goals that will take them to the World Cup.

They now lie bottom of Group Nine, behind the minnows of Albania, with a mountain to climb to even finish in the runners-up spot.

Should younger players such as Joe Cole, Wes Brown, Michael Carrick and Frank Lampard be given their chance now?

Are England's current crop of players up to the task of taking them all the way or will England face the ignominy of failing to qualify for the World Cup as they did in 1994 under Graham Taylor?

What can be done in the six months before the next qualifying fixture to mould England into a winning side?

Tell us what you think.


I can never understand why the old players have to play all the time. They should be replaced when they are not productive. Imagine having a tie with Finland! England should have scored at least two or more goals. I say all the 30+ age players should be cut and be replaced by a younger team. Maybe then England will have the opportunity to qualify.
Chane Lema, Canada

Many people hope not ! International football tournaments are always more relaxed and friendly without the English team being there. The quality of sport journalism increases as well. Sorry, but these are the facts.
Luigi, Italy

Until England start picking ball players instead of ball winners (Ince, Wise, Batty etc) they will never win anything. Tackling is now the least important skill in football.
Simon Clews, Birmingham

England have some very good players but there is always an expectation that they only have to turn up to win. Why is this? Unrealistic expectations cause unnecessary pressures on the players and manager.
Michael Kearney, Switzerland

Of course England can qualify for the World Cup. The next England manager, whoever he may be, has a fantastic resource of players at his disposal.

The FA have had months since our dismal performance in Euro 2000 to prepare for the World Cup.
  Julian Witor, Australia (ex-pat)
The FA have had months since our dismal performance in Euro 2000 to prepare for the World Cup. As the authority in English football, it is the FA who have the ultimate responsibility in overseeing England's performance and taking necessary measures if it is inadequate. Clearly, they have failed to do that.

It is not too late for the FA to appoint the right person for the job who will prepare and focus them for each game, but they should really consider the mechanisms they have in place for dealing with lacklustre national team performances and update it with something that is more proactive rather than the usual firefighting that we are all too used to.
Julian Witor, Australia (ex-pat)

I don't think we should even try to qualify. There is no point. We have no chance of winning it anyway, we play so many players that should be taking out their pensions. Surely what we should do is play a 3-5-2 formation and play our best midfield of Scholes, Beckham, Gerrard, Cole, Anderton or Barmby, our defence is useless, so why play 4 at the back? The front two remains a mystery to me, we now have nobody who can score aside Owen - but who can he play with?
Will Crump, England

I don't see what all the fuss is about. England are doing okay, providing hours of amusement for Scottish people (and probably the Irish and the Welsh). keep up the good work, lads
Scotty, Hong Kong

Of course England can still qualify. England clearly have the quality to win all of their remaining games apart from, possibly the away game in Germany. If Germany lose points in some of their tricky away games we could even win the group. If not, we should still finish second and face a playoff game to qualify. There will be a lot of good teams who will also finish second in their groups but we could just as easily draw one of the weaker teams.

I do, however, see exactly where Howard Wilkinson is coming from when he suggests forgetting about this World Cup and concentrating on getting young players used to the international scene. Evidence that this works comes clearly from Portugal's performance this summer, and from Australia's current dominance of international cricket.
Ed Milnes, England

Do we still deserve to qualify? - That is the question! There should be some set rules for coaching, not that even I could now put my name forward for the job vacancy without any qualifications! You have to have them for every other kind of job so why not coaching I wonder!

We'll probably get through via the playoffs but maybe it would be better not to qualify and just start rebuilding the team with some promising youngsters! We all know what happened to France in '94! They didn't get to USA. In '98 and this year in the low countries they proved to what can happen with players who spent their youth playing football through the French ranks, just like their coaches! Bring on the kids!!
Chippie Morgan, In The Netherlands

The new England manager has got to bring in the younger players straight away if we want any hope of making the 2002 finals. After all, players like Lampard, Bowyer, Joe Cole, Gerrard & Wes Brown all play regularly in the Premiership and were part of an excellent, unbeaten U21 side. Picking them is surely is less of a gamble than playing Gareth Southgate in midfield!!.......PS Venables is the only man for the job!
Toby H., UK

Although I'm a Man United fan through and through,

I can't believe Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate aren't being considered for England call ups
  Nick Breedon, France
I can't believe Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate aren't being considered for England call ups. It is an absolute discrage on the FA's part to condemn two of England's brightest hopes especially at a time when we need such players. The FA should seriously rethink it's strategy. You also have to ask whether David Beckham would have been treated similarly if he found himself in the same situation? Innocent till proven guilty? I don't think so!
Nick Breedon, France

Until we start prizing our footballers who are technically good in all positions, instead of relying on workrate and uninventive tactics, we are doomed to mediocrity. It has been mentioned numerous times in the press that the English style (or rather lack of style) in football relies on the opposition giving the ball back to us once we have lost it. This makes for exciting 'end to end football', if all you are interested in is the ball moving about, but is guaranteed to lose if the opposition concentrate on keeping the ball once they have it.

There is no point in us qualifying for 2002 with the present set-up, because we would be struggling to qualify for the quarter-finals. It would be better to stay home.
Clive Wilson, Norway

The question should more likely be: Should England still qualify ? It cannot be denied that England possess some of the finest players in the world. However, these players haven't managed to get along altogether.

As a matter of fact, it is probably time to renew 80% of the team right now. Even if it means that England will miss the qualification for the next world cup, the new coach will thus be given the opportunity to build a real team on a six year-term. I am a very big supporter of the English team even though I'm French because world football absolutely needs British values of engagement and fighting spirit. But you will save two years in not qualifying for the next World Cup.

You should never start a competition without being deeply sure that you are able to win it. Otherwise you kill a whole generation. Goal should now be 2006 and not 2002.
Jerome, France

It's time for a change and this should start with the FA itself. Adam Crozier has a list of names who are supposed to help him select the next manager. These people should be the first to go! Particularly David Davies for helping Glen Hoddle write his world cup diary - great advice David. Eileen Dury aside at least Hoddle was making it happen on the pitch. It's time for some stability and continuity for the squad's sake and the fan's sanity. I doubt we'll qualify at this rate unless the team finds some self belief. Sadly nobody springs to mind as the perfect man for the job. I'd favour Hodgson ...
Andrew Gallon, England

We may still make the finals via the playoffs, but playing over-aged players out of postition cannot be the way to go about it. I think that by gambling with new players the next manager could well be in a win win situation because he will have public support for playing the young players in the first place, if we qualify then he's made the right choice, if we don't then he has the time to develop them further which is what the public want anyway
Alex Allen, England

I Think England will qualify, they should have won against Finland if that goal was allowed, we were the better team against Germany. Even me a 13 year old could see that! We will beat Greece, Finland and Albania when we play them again. If we score enough goals, and draw with the Germans we should go through.
Thomas Scrivens, England

The problem with this country (England) is that we always look at our past achievements, rather than looking to the future. I'm really fed up of hearing how we won the world cup in 1966 - 34 years ago.

This way of thinking still rules, as England managers prefer to play older experienced players as opposed to the incredibly talented youth we have at the moment. It is a crime to the beautiful game not to let these talented individuals play for their country more often. Give the younger players a chance to grow and gel together and a great England team will develop.
Peter, England

Give the younger players a chance to grow and gel together and a great England team will develop.
  Peter, England

Right, the problem with England I believe is NOT the team, it is the greedy fans who don't know how to support a team - only how to destroy one. This attitude along with the constant onslaught from the media just can't be productive for the team morale.
Michael fitzgibbon, ENGLAND

We always have this discussion every couple of years after yet another England failure either at a World Cup or European Championship. It is time that we stopped looking at the England team through rose coloured spectacles and just admit that we are not in the same class as the other footballing nations. They have moved on. Until we get the right coaches in at U19 & U21 level (Peter Taylor excluded) we will never have continuity going into the senior team and will always be a bunch of talented individuals with no team experience.
James Adams, UK

I think there should be more younger players going thourgh the England squad. The current side looks old and tired and needs to be refreshed by some new young talent like Woodgates and Cole.
anil sharma, england

Although some of Wilkinson's decisions were extremely suspect to say the least (no Owen, keep Heskey on for the whole game), most people wouldn't disagree with the squad we had for both games. The players themselves have got to stop believing their own press, and actually prove their so called 'world-class' ability on the pitch.
Stevo, London, England

It is time that we stopped looking at the England team through rose coloured spectacles and just admit that we are not in the same class as the other footballing nations
  James Adams, UK
Howard Wilkinson is right. England are a shadow of the team they could be and need to set long term goals. Getting to Japan isn't one of them. I think the FA should appoint a decent manager and build for the future.
Barry, Ireland

Consider this, Italy got to the final of EURO 2000 their manager resigned and a new manager in the form of Trappatoni stepped in, so far they have won two of their three qualifiers.Both coaches have got decent pedigrees having won lots with club and country as players.

However, the English game at coaching level is still in the dark ages and in my opinion Terry Venables is the best of very bad lot. Because of this and the lack of genuine world class players I think English prospects are not good.
J Reed, Scotland

I love English football, so I hope they can improve their game and still qualify to World Cup finals.
Meelis, Estonia

Forget qualifying for this World Cup. Use the games left to bring new new young players who have the desire to put their heart and soul into playing for England. Use the remaining games to give them the experience and exposure on the World stage. Who knows, they might just suprise everyone and still qualify, and if they don't then we may have a realistic chance of doing well next time.
Roger Wilkinson, England

So we have the best individual players in the world do we? If we did we would win everything!

We cannot say the players don't play enough games together, they play against each other week in week out
  Colin Ritchie, USA
We cannot say the players don't play enough games together, they play against each other week in week out, unlike foreign players who gather from different countries and have to work to perform together as a team. Sadly for Keegan being too nice was his downfall. We need someone to go into the job and give these players a kick up the backside.
Colin Ritchie, USA

I think people in this country are living in a dreamworld. Keegan was not the problem. Venables can't turn malt vinegar into vintage champagne even if they gave him the job. Footballers believe it or not have brains too, and should have the ability to organise themselves on the pitch when things are going against them. They should have the will to win and the mental strength to fight. This is what England lack.

There ARE decent young players in England with ability to flourish on the international stage. But they need real support and not overkill by our doom hungry tabloids. We can make it to Japan/Korea. Give youngsters a chance and find hope we can find the right blend.
Pete A, London UK

The problem with the England team is a complex mix of issues. Players need to be passionate about playing for their country.

England never seem to know what formation, personnel, tactics to use, there is no cohesion or consistency
  Dan Temple, UK
England never seem to know what formation, personnel, tactics to use, there is no cohesion or consistency, and the younger players should be given their chance.
Dan Temple, UK

In my opinion, England suffers from an overactive ego. It is expected that England will win tournaments and failures to do so are regarded with indignation. After Scotland beat England at Wembley in the qual for Euro2000, Keegan had the nerve to say this was a great platform to go on and win the tournament. THAT is the problem.
Andrew D, Australia (formerly Scotland)

As an exiled Scot here in New York my overwhelming opinion after Euro 2000 and these first two games is that England still have not learned anything from the teams who beat them. And the biggest lesson is this: you have to have a genuine footballer in every position, not merely good "club" players or blokes with great "workrate". They get found out every time at this level. Play with weak links, you'll get nowhere.

The new manager has to recognise that, even consider blowing off this qualifying campaign to blood younger talent - if that's what it takes. (And England is lucky enough to have a pool of talent - as usual, Scotland has to rely on luck, pluck and desperation.)
Nick, USA

How did Wilkinson ever get appointed to the position of Technical Director? I don't know Howard Wilkinson's background, but I believe his European expertise is minimal and his attitude to players is to lead from the rear with a right rollicking. With this attitude at the top it will be difficult to get player respect and full co-operation with a winning enthusiasm. Perhaps it is necessary to clean house completely to show the players that the FA top brass are serious about quality coaching.
F.J.Winstanley, Canada

There was zero urgency, no determination to attempt to influence the outcome of the match, even a little panic would have shown some desire as opposed to the general apathy that was on display. And why has this happened?

There was zero urgency, no determination to attempt to influence the outcome of the match
  Yinkx E, England
Could it be that now, their club careers have become so financial lucrative and there being no guarantee of first team footbal, and therefore no constant high profile, that English footballers are no more willing to give 110% and fear getting knocks which will affect their possibly club commitments??? Let's hope not, because at present I fear this is case, and unless you have a group of players willing to play for England, England will never have a football team,talk less of a good or even great football team.
Yinkx E, England

Peter Chadwick, USA

Why is there such a stigma about appointing a foreigner for job as England coach? If this was any other job it would be up in the European courts as race discrimination. Obviously the old boy's school is exempt from this.
Kev, West Australia

There are two friendlies to come before England have the opportunity to embarass themselves further in competition by losing at home to Finland. Why not offer the position of temporary coach for the games against Italy and Spain to some of the football "journalists" of the tabloid press?

Why not offer the position of temporary coach for the games against Italy and Spain to some of the football "journalists" of the tabloid press?
  Chris Kingham, England
Here would be a heaven-sent chance for them to put all their previous constructive feedback into practice. Of course, it wouldn't be fair to do that without offering some of England's former managers the chance to write the post-match reports.

While I admit this is unlikely to be a recipe for success, it could make for great entertainment - which is more than can be said for the last 180 minutes of English national football!
Chris Kingham, England

There's a lot of emotional nonsense being talked. The arithmetic for a second position playoff spot is excellent with Greece, Finland and Albania taking points from each other. A slip up by Germany would even bring them back into the fold.

The confidence of the England players is currently at rock bottom and that is responsible for much of the poor performances. No matter how good you are, if confidence is lacking, you won't perform.

England need the right manager - a motivator and a tactician. He has some good, if not world class, players and some quality young players coming through. England can qualify via the playoffs and develop some of the youngsters for the Finals in 2 years time with a mix of experience and youth.

It takes time to build a new squad and the fans and media must give them a break whie it's done.
Mac Howard, Australia

We can't expect to end up on top of our group now, that's Germany's spot, unless we can turn it around dramatically we won't win away at Germany or Greece.

We can complain about the ref in the Finland game all day, but whatever is said, we were dreadful
  Alex Allen, England
We can complain about the ref in the Finland game all day, but whatever is said, we were dreadful, what is the point of qualifying at all if we play that badly? I think that if the next manager is strong enough to withstand the pressure from the press and the public then he should forget the World Cup which we can't hope to win, and play Gerrad, Cole, Barry, Brown, etc.
Alex Allen, England

I find it amusing that everyone is saying England lacks passion, yet they have a lynch mob out for the only player with any passion, Beckham. I say get rid of the old players. Give Beckham the captains armband so hopefully his passion will become contagious, and drop Andy Cole, Owen is a much stronger forward. England need more games for the chemistry to gel because at the moment it's basically a bunch of strangers. Rebuild the team NOW and if we qualify for 2002 great, if not, we'll be a contender for 2006.
Leon Oxley, English in US

Anyone who is continually told they are rubbish, 2nd rate, etc., will eventually believe it! It strips away their self belief and confidence and they will perform badly at whatever they try....until they give up trying! And so it is for the English football team and their manager.

Why is it that the press sports writers (who have boundless and incredible footballing talent themselves, naturally!)celebrate at an England loss or poor performance? Because bad news sells is what the English like to read at breakfast. Can England still qualify? Well, it may still be mathematically possible....but frankly why bother if you are going to get criticised in the press for not being top of your group?

We have the team we deserve, the manager (or not!) we deserve and the over-critical media we deserve. Until attitudes change dramatically in this country from we will continue to get the results we deserve!
Colin Sisk, England

We were lucky in 98 when Italy slipped up to allow us to play catchup. The Germans however will not slip up, their rough patch has gone, we are now fighting for a play-off position! As for the side, well, without a doubt up front we're missing Shearer, we're missing the likes of Batty in Midfield, and our best defenders are all past their sell by date, we did not introduce youth with experience while we had the chance and now we are paying dearly for it, we are nowhere near the top nation we like to think we are, look at the rankings!!
Haydn Warrent, England

Basically the British public think they have a national side better than it is, this expectation filters through to the players who go and play as if they should win, but are missing one crucial ingedient, they do not know how. Back to basics, hard work, 100% committment, allow a bit of confidence to accumulate and take it one step at a time. If Roy Keane was captain of the England team, vast improvement would be immediately visible.
Patrick Thorpe, USA and Ireland

There are only two ways in which England can still qualify for the world cup - by bringing back Venables and giving some of the youngsters a chance. Okay, so the older players have experience but they don't have pace and agility. Experience only comes from playing games. If you give a few of the young players a game their confidence will increase greatly. Hopefully if Venables is announced the new England manager he will have the sense to give the up and coming stars a chance.
Kathryn Parrott (age 15), England

Does it really matter if we don't qualify for this world cup? Look at France in not qualifying for 1994 World Cup ... not doing too bad now. I don't think it's the end of the world if England don't qualify for 2002. What really matters is that there is continuity and a strategy in place regarding the team. We have some decent youngsters who are the future. Let's hope the FA doesn't try to salvage something which I think is beyond us in this qualification. It should be used as 6 competitive games for the younger players to get a feel for the international arena. The Euro 2004 championships should be looked at instead of the 2002 World Cup.
Paul, England

Forget about new talent, the current players are fine, but they're being played in incorrect positions with tactics that just don't work with the team. We need strong leadership both on and off the field.
Richard Todd, England

Thinking back to our last qualifying campaign, we didn't start too well then. We lost at home to Italy but we still finished strongly, so we should not get to depressed.
Simon Wall, England

We must bring in the young players and pick a system that suits our style of play and stick to it, we must then find players to fit the system. We will never get to be a top international team if we keep changing the way we play. Bob Paisley, the old Liverpool manager, always preached that football is a simple game just keep passing the ball and running, keep it simple.
John Mooney, England

I think we get what we deserve
  Alastair Davis, England
I think we get what we deserve. No one ever has a good word to say about the team. Every article tends to be negative even in vicory. We do not have the best team but I believe with better coverage, a more positive attitude and genuine support the team would play better and perhaps we would have something to cheer about. If I was a footballer the last team I would want to be selected for is England, it is not worth the hassle. Is it any wonder that players choose to play for an other home country even when England is an option?
Alastair Davis, England

We've had the big boys with big reputations and even bigger egos. Why don't we get a manager with a proven track record of getting the best out of youngsters, a man with a real football heritage and a true love of the beautiful game. We need to look beyond the wage inflated premiership for a manager who commands respect for proper footballing reasons. That's why I think Crewe's Dario Grady should be given a shot at the England job. I know it's not a name that has been mentioned yet but we've achieved nothing with a big name at the helm. Let's give a proper football manager a chance.
Carl, England

Forget moaning about bad luck and start taking responsibility for bad performances
  Julian Hayward, UK
England will probably just qualify - from a very easy group - and then be humiliated in Japan. We will never win anything as long as the "manager" and players take the attitude that "we were robbed" like Howard Wilkinson did last night. Forget, for example, arguing whether Parlour should have been awarded a goal and start asking why in that situation shots don't get put away on target. Forget moaning about bad luck and start taking responsibility for bad performances.
Julian Hayward, UK

For England to progress as a football force, they must accept - as Scotland did 15 years ago - that they ARE a second tier footballing nation now.Only then will the players mind set be truly focussed on their task in hand; which is NOT winning the World Cup, it's qualifying for the World Cup.
Ian Skelly, Scotland

I don't like watching England play football that much, the reason being that we have always create the impression that England is a great footballing nation with all the talk of 60's, 70's and 80's heros such as George Best. Frankly, we ain't good at football! Time has moved on since the 60's, and so should English football. We need to start thinking about the future, and the young people coming up to international standard, with the correct management and encouragement we could have a great world class team in a few years once again.
Pete, England

0-0 against Finland wasn't brilliant, but it's a start
  Alex Allen, England
To put it mildy, we haven't had a good week, and 0-0 against Finland wasn't brilliant, but it's a start and we did it without a manager. With Greece losing to Albania, we have a real chance of at least coming second.
Alex Allen, England

Forgetting the choice of squad for a moment, I feel another reason why England fail to achieve anything is the fact that they don't play enough games together. If you look at Brazil you'll see that they have to play a lot more games to qualify for the finals. I think a younger team should be chosen and also they need to get together more, practice more and put aside any personally grievances they might have towards other players on the team.
Jason Mitchell, Canada (UK Student)

When are we going to have honest reflections on a game from the England management? All we had last night were reasons for the result and a whole series of "what ifs". When are we going to hear some honest evaluation? The most telling comment last night came from a Finn saying that he was genuinely amazed that the England team, with the skills that the players have, do not gel and play better. We need someone in charge who can instill some belief and passion in the England shirt, rather than someone who will pander to the prima-donna approach of some of our so called 'stars'.
Glen, England

England will finish second in the group, so stop complaining!
  Kevin, Ireland
There is no reason to doubt that they can qualify, we've only played 2 games. People have to stop belittling the teams such as Finland. Every game is a difficult one these days and there will not be any team in any of the groups that will not struggle for a while during the qualifying rounds. England will finish second in the group, so stop complaining!
Kevin, Ireland

Having watched the Scottish game afterwards I think its fair to say that England don't deserve to qualify. Scotland showed grit, flair and above all determination. Makes you wish you were Scottish.
Jez Poole, UK

Let's all get behind our team, I know England can qualify for the 2002 World Cup, lets just have a little faith. What we need now is a first class Manager to take us there. Personally, I don't care what country he comes from as long as he gets us there.
Simon Keay, England

Shocking, just shocking. The game last night reminded me of a pub league match (no offence to pub leagues). The lack of managerial consistency is no excuse for individual performances like that of Andy Cole last night. These are professional players after all and they must accept some of the responsibility.
James, England

England players don't seem to want it enough to win
  R Callister, UK
England lose their games before they even kick off due to having an extreme inferiority complex. Every game is approached with high expectations from the public which possibly puts the players under pressure, but they should be able to cope with that considering the wages they are on. I honestly think a first division side may have a better result, as they make up for what they lack in skill with passion, guts and determination!! Tactics are one thing, but the England players don't seem to want it enough to win. How many times do you see them stand by and watch instead of getting in and tacking? They have to make it happen, not just expect it.
R Callister, UK

The problem with England is that the media expect them to win everything. Every tournament they enter, they are expected to win, this just leads to embarrassment when they are clearly not good enough. Look at Scotland, we expect to lose most of our games, therefore, when we do lose the media don't slate the manager and when we win everyone is happy. England need to look at this problem and address it if their football team is to improve.
David G, Scotland

It is time to do away with the old guard, and risk not qualifying in the interest of creating a team
  Phil Bunn, Manchester UK
Yes England can still qualify, but they must ring the changes. Admittedly many key players were absent against Finland but England lacked passion. It is time to do away with the old guard, and risk not qualifying in the interest of creating a team, it would set us up for years to come.
Phil Bunn, Manchester, UK

Having seen the last 2 games played so poorly, surely this is a direct reflection of having so many foreign players in english football. This situation has limited the amount of talent available, the whole culture is therefore changed.
A James, Holland

Bring on Venables, kick out the dinosaurs of English football and put the passion, youth and spirit back into our game.
Paul Martin, Thailand

We should not give up hope as we have some of the best players in the world. Once we have our full squad back to health and a new manager installed, it is my firm belief that we can win all of the other qualifying games, with the possible exception of Germany away.
Ian Thomas, France

Managing only a draw against Finland, we don't deserve to play against the best in the world
  Ben Barker, Dubai
At the rate we are going right now, I doubt it. Managing only a draw against Finland, we don't deserve to play against the best in the world. I have just read Paul Gasgoine's comments and he is totally spot on. This is where the problem lies - getting our youngsters in. Lets get rid of the older players and bring in the young guns with pride and passion. Let them gel together for a while and then we should be ready to play against the Brazils and Frances. It is just embarrassing to watch England at the moment!
Ben Barker, Dubai

I'm not sure what game your reporter was watching, but from where I was standing England were lucky not to lose. On the basis of their last two performances England look to have a huge uphill task; I saw Finland vs Albania last month and Finland managed to make England look worse.
Ben Sadler, Finland

I think youngsters are the answer to England's lack of success. Undoubtedly, right from the coach to the bench, there is enormous pressure on English footballers. Some good attitude management and pressure reduction measures coupled with youngsters who in general play with lesser pressure will work. Somehow you have got get the eleven to play good football for 90 minutes and not worry about the before or after effects.
Shekhar Rapaka, United Arab Emirates

England still can qualify but they should find a good manager and stop playing Andy Cole because he will not score any goal even if he played another ten matches for England. If he could do that he would do it in the first three or four matches.
Rojier Eliah, Australia

England shouldn't expect to waltz through qualifying
  Alistair, Australia
To a neutral observer it seems that England's pessimism is premature. After only two games and with Greece losing yesterday second spot is still very achievable. England shouldn't expect to waltz through qualifying but should get on with the hard work ahead and be like every other country , happy to qualify even through the playoffs. Remember Argentina almost missed Mexico 86 but went on to win it. Who remembers or cares about that now ?
Alistair, Australia

Why don't we get off the back of the England team. Realistically, we could have beaten Portugal and drawn with Romania. Then who knows about what we could have done in Euro 2000. Since, a draw with the best team in the world and a loss to Germany, who always beat us anyway. Then we have a disallowed winner against Finland. Is everything suddenly so bad? I think we should get off the back of the England manager and start building for the future, as the cricket team has started to do. Lets get behind the team, let the youngsters come through without the pressure of having every England game looked at by the press as a do-or-die encounter. Yes I think we can qualify for the World Cup, and yes I think that England has got a good international team. Other teams would love to have the likes of Campbell, Beckham and Owen in their teams. Lets get behind the team and be optimistic for a change. Or is that just not English?
Dan Hollis, Australia

I have always loved England.. I always will but it's time we face reality. The problem was not Keegan, it's the players. England has overpaid, overrated, and over paid players with the exception of Beckham, none of England's players will make the first team in Real Madrid, Juventus or Barca. They just don't have that class.. let start with youngsters hungry for glory, it can't get worse than this..
ChiChi Okeke, USA

Give me my pride back !!
  Mike Belfield, USA
Living abroad I worship watching England play. I have to say watching this England squad and the last few seasons has been embarrassing.... Give me my pride back !!
Mike Belfield, Ex Pat, USA

In qualification for World Cup 98 we lost to Italy at home 1-0 and still finished top of our group. The draw in Finland is not a bad result considering our Scandinavian slip-ups in the past. Not only do we still have a good chance of qualifying (Greece and Albania should be cannon-fodder even for this England team) we can still win the group. Lets have a bit of optimism here!
Paul Baker, Australia

Bring in the younger players like Cole, Lampard and Brown with maybe a few of the more experienced to give them some guidance initially. Give Owen a run in the team instead of dropping him after one mediocre performance and above all get a settled squad who actually play on the same wavelength. It will take time and there will be some set backs so we should be aiming for Euro 2004 or the 2006 World Cup. If we qualify for the 2002 World Cup then that's a bonus but if we scrape in with the same old faces we'll get knocked out in the first round and we'll be back here having the same discussion in two years time.
Mick, UK

England should also take comfort from the fact that, Germany aside, they are in a very weak group
  Paddy, Scotland
England should still be able to qualify from this group but it shall only be from the runners up berth that they will achieve this. Then of course there is the lottery of the play-offs but that is some time away yet. England should also take comfort from the fact that, Germany aside, they are in a very weak group. Finland, Greece and Albania should all be cast aside in England (no matter where they play) and even a solitary away victory would probably secure 2nd place. As for the next England manager it really is a tricky choice. With so few appropriate candidates and even less people genuinely interested in the job it is a difficult choice. However one candidate sticks out like sore thumb, Craig Brown. Maybe a surprising choice but a manager with a proven record of qualification and he gets the best out of limited resources. Imagine what he could do with Beckham et al. However could the English ever be happy with the manager of their football team being a Scotsman?
Paddy, Scotland

Andrew Cole is a sub standard striker yet he is called up for the England team time and time again. What other international player continually make fundamental errors such as he does? Probably missing England's best opportunity of the night. Come on England get rid of him as he is doing our country no favours.
Andrew Hale, England

English clubs do very well in Europe...look at Man Utd, Arsenal, and Leeds. Lots of excellent young English players who are consistently being overlooked. West Ham has some very talented players also. Lets drop the geriatrics and let this new young blood revive the pride of English football.
Rick Wiltshire, England

Of course England has a chance
  Richard Adler, England
Of course England has a chance. We have the best individual players in the world and it's just a matter of finding the right coach to create a team out of these stars. Don't let the media bring you down, trust the talent and the history of English success, and you will be surprised. England will not only qualify, but will be a top contender for the World Cup.
Richard Adler, England

I don't get it? All that talk about letting Joe Cole join the England squad and he doesn't even get 1 minute of a game. Other than Beckham and Scholes, this generation of footballers for England isn't world class. They should move aside and let the youngsters try their luck. Can it do more damage than senior players have already done?
Mohammed Suliman, UK

Perhaps we can't even count on beating Albania and Greece now - what is becoming of English football? It's embarrassing!
Mark Hunter, England

I cannot believe how bad we have become at football and it seems that the team is at such a low-ebb at the moment, we won't qualify for the finals. It may be the time to bring in the U21 stars, bring in a foreign manager who knows what he is doing and just accept we will not qualify for 2002. If we do then it is a bonus but lets plan for 2006 and show a good team to the world in Germany and not embarrass ourselves again as we will in 2002 (if we qualify).
David Burgess, Canada

Perhaps we can't even count on beating Albania and Greece now - what is becoming of English football? It's embarrassing!
  Mark Hunter, England
When things are going this badly, I think that it reflects on the whole organisation of football. When are the big wigs at the FA going to take some responsibility? We seem to have some sort of peerage system, and the guys at the top are untouchable. They are forced to resign over finances, but never over the chronic situation that English football finds itself in. Who are these men? What are they doing to make the national side better?
Benbond, NZ/England

After Saturday, I think the fans deserved a better performance from England - they didn't really get it. At times we struggled to hold on to a draw and did not create enough through midfield to trouble the Fins. After this display it seems doubtful we can qualify for the finals - a big improvement is required and fast.
Stuart Yates, England

I witnessed the debacle that was an England performance against Germany. I failed to see any leadership on the field. It will do England good if they fail to qualify. England needs new ideas, players, and attitudes.
Sean Clipperton, USA

England should look beyond this World Cup and instead plan and rebuild for future tournaments. Sadly we are not up to scratch and if we qualify through the backdoor again it will hinder our long-term progress. If we are to qualify, whoever is in charge will no doubt, like Keegan, proclaim we are good enough to win the competition when clearly we are not. If we look beyond this tournament by grooming the young talent and allowing them to play together then we may yet become the great footballing nation so many believe we already are.
Dan G., UK

It will do England good if they fail to qualify. England needs new ideas, players, and attitudes.
  Sean Clipperton, USA
While the current performance leaves a lot to be desired, the qualification round is still very long. Once England is able to organise after the week's poor results, I think that a real race will be on. So, don't count them out.
Thomas Mueller, Germany

I am a life-long England supporter...but if they don't make it this time, you either sack them all, else I QUIT!
Justin Vassallo, Malta

After what I have seen tonight, I am all for throwing in the youngsters at the deep end! They will surely play better than the seniors will. I am sorry but the team is a shambles, no ideas just hoofing the ball up for poor Cole and Heskey to try and do something about it. I have never seen a worse England team than the present one.
Ernest Frendo, Malta

It is quite straightforward really. We need to rebuild with a younger squad. It seems that England managers are not brave enough to play some youngsters and give them a chance in the side. Players like Joe Cole and Wes Brown are the future of English football, and most seem to agree with this, but it seems ridiculous not to give them an opportunity. We all know what happened to Paul Gascoigne when his England career started so late, and we cannot afford for this to happen again. The talent that we do have in the league that many regard as the best in the world should be harnessed and put on display. How many more failures will it take before the FA realises this and forces managers to be more forward thinking.
Jonathan Landau, England

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