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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 August 2005, 07:19 GMT 08:19 UK
Danish pasting


By Alan Hansen
Match of the Day pundit and BBC Sport columnist

England's defeat in Copenhagen again raises the question of whether friendly matches are a complete waste of time.

The players certainly didn't play as though they wanted to be there.

There is no good time for friendlies, and probably not at the start of the season when you've just played in the opening Premiership match.

There's a case for getting the players together for three or four days and then getting them back to their clubs.

Having said that, it's up to the manager to motivate the players. He picks the individuals then tries to get the best out of them, regardless of the circumstances.

England captain David Beckham
Beckham shows his dejection in Denmark

The second half was easy to sum up - an absolute shambles. Communication, organisation and man-marking was nil.

The second half was irrelevant because the first half was the priority when he had his best team out, and in that first half I thought the Danes were better as a unit.

Everybody was saying that they thought England did well in the first half but I didn't think so.

England started slowly and failed to pick it up. Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and even Wayne Rooney to an extent, never showed up.

The performance that summed it up for me was Ashley Cole's. When he plays for Arsenal he's quick, he gets tight to opponents and he charges up and down that left flank.

But too many times he didn't get tight, and put his arms up allowing his opponent to go by him. And too many times he didn't make any effort to get back.

You also have to look at the substitutes Eriksson picked. Michael Carrick was brilliant on the pre-season tour of America but he didn't feature. Why?

It would have made sense for him to play just in front of the back four alongside either Gerrard or Lampard and see how that worked.

Defensively the first goal for England was a shambles. England had a set-piece but it was 18 seconds between the keeper catching the ball and it ending up in the back of the net.

I don't know what David James was doing, but after that it went from bad to worse.

James has improved as a goalkeeper but the one thing he hasn't improved on is his judgement.

He made an amazing admission after the game that he hadn't prepared properly.

It's up to the individual to prepare himself for the match and even if you're a substitute your mind has to be right because you might be needed in the first minute of the game.

He said he wasn't prepared mentally and he might pay for that.

I thought David Beckham played well, even though he said he was two weeks behind everyone else in terms of fitness.

In the end, I don't think this game did anything for England's confidence going into the World Cup qualifier against Wales.

But I still think England will win in Cardiff, and if that happens, it will make a large amount of what happened in Copenhagen irrelevant.


SEE ALSO
Denmark 4-1 England
17 Aug 05 |  Internationals
Eriksson fumes after Denmark loss
17 Aug 05 |  Internationals
Friendly fire
18 Aug 05 |  Internationals


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