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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 October 2006, 22:49 GMT 23:49 UK
BBC pundits on England

Alan Hansen
Alan Hansen
BBC Sport football expert and Match of the Day summariser

The first question you ask is why play the 3-5-2 formation, especially after the inept performance at the weekend?

Against Macedonia their fundamentals were all over the place - they didn't pass the ball well.

If you play badly you go safe and with what players are comfortable with - confidence is low and so you go back to basics.

You don't go with three centre-backs that have probably never played together in that system.

I don't think we will be seeing 3-5-2 for a long time

To play 3-5-2 you need pace up front to stretch the play and you look at that line-up and think they are going to struggle.

England defender John Terry came out in support when he is not going to go against the manager.

But people talk in the dressing room and the consensus of opinion of the vast majority of players is they don't like three centre-backs, so why play it?

I played with three centre-backs maybe five or six times and I always thought it was defensive.

The defenders get too close together and you end up with two or three going for the same ball.

What happens is that at some point nobody goes for it and we saw that two minutes into the match when Terry and Jamie Carragher went for same ball.

For the first goal you had six white shirts against two and nobody dealt with it - everybody was looking and nobody was picking the Croatia players up.

I don't think we will be seeing 3-5-2 for a long time.

Alan Shearer
Alan Shearer
Former England striker and Match of the Day summariser

I can understand Steve McClaren trying to do things differently. Maybe he thinks we have played 4-4-2 for 40 years now and not won anything.

But trying it in our most difficult away game I cannot understand.

No-one plays this in the league so for 10 months you play 4-4-2, and so to come out and play it once a season is almost impossible.

With 3-5-2 you need pace up front or you don't stretch teams and the ball is going one way all the time.

Five months away is a long time to wait to get rid of a bad result

Wayne Rooney needs space to turn and Peter Crouch is a target man who needs to bring other players into play.

No-one is running in behind the defence where Frank Lampard wants to play the ball.

It makes it easy for defenders when Rooney and Crouch both go towards the ball rather than running behind defenders.

It is too easy for defenders when they are not being stretched or pulled around.

When Jermain Defoe came on he went towards the goal and for the first time the Croatia defenders had some thinking to do. They had to run towards their own goal which defenders do not want to do.

I thought Paul Robinson was partly at fault for the first goal.

From a corner he opted to punch away when he could have caught it and it never got cleared.

It kept coming into the box and then when the cross came over he was still going forward - if he was in the right position he would have picked the ball up easily.

The second goal just summed up what a torrid evening it was for England. It was just a nightmare.

The next competitive game is about five months away, which is a long time to wait to get rid of a bad result.

Formations: 3-5-2
01 Sep 05 |  Laws & Equipment
Croatia 2-0 England
11 Oct 06 |  Internationals
McClaren shoulders blame for loss
11 Oct 06 |  Internationals
04 Oct 06 |  Internationals
International photos
11 Oct 06 |  Football


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