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England 2-2 Czech Republic
Match report
Scotland 0-0 N Ireland
Match report
Wales 1-2 Georgia
Match report


To get involved use Paul Fletcher's blog or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Paul Fletcher

2230: Thanks for all you comments and thoughts on what has certainly been an interesting night of international action. Not exactly what I would describe as successful. And it will get worse when I get wet cycling home.

Oh well, life goes on eh. See you on Saturday, perhaps.

2226: "Get Wiggins, Adlington and Ainslie in to motivate these clowns. Then hire the cycling back room team to manage them! Bunch of losers!

"Do 16 Golds, 10 Silvers and 11 Bronzes mean nothing to Beckham, Gerrard and James?"
NoRtHeRnMiDz? on the blog
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Nice Olympics-England football team link. A few people have touched on this. People have clearly been inspired by what GB's team have achieved in Beijing. There is a lot of work to do before they feel the same way about England's football team.

By the way, you were post 666.

2222: "We played the first-half very well but the counter attack of the Czech Republic was very dangerous. We have to work on that."
England coach Fabio Capello

"We have to put on a better show."
England captain John Terry

2217: So Capello was comparing England to Spain a couple of weeks ago. Well, Spain, Euro 2008 champions of course, won 3-0 in Denmark tonight with Xabi Alonso netting twice. I suspect Spain are playing with a lot more confidence than England.

2213: "As poor as we were, we got the draw, even if we were outclassed. At the end of the day, can we stop being so stereotypically critical and English, and be happy we got a good result against a (on the night) better team!?"
Anonymous, via text, on 81111

I very much think you are in a small minority. That second 45 minutes from England was awful. What makes it all so galling is that we see players who produce every week for their clubs massively fail to replicate that form on the international stage. We know they can do it but they don't.

2208: "How reassuringly depressing to note that GB's Olympic thirst and striving for success has not rubbed off on England's football team."
palladas on the blog
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"I watched a bit of England and a bit of Liechtenstein tonight. To be honest, I was more impressed with Liechtenstein."
aldershot_ali on the blog
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Not thrilled then? I'm not. I think I'll have to watch some replays of our brave boys and girls cleaning up in the Beijing velodrome to cheer myself up after that.

2159: Full-time Wales 1-2 Georgia
What a win for Georgia, who have not had much to cheer recently. Not the best night for Wales though.

2158: Jason Koumas is very close to an equaliser for Wales with a shot from 20 yards.

2156: GOAL Wales 1-2 Georgia
Georgia celebrate wildly after they grab a winner close to full-time. Absolutely awful defending from Wales, as nobody takes control of an optimistic ball into the box and Beka Gotsiridze steals in before Boaz Myhill to head the ball home.

2155: "Awful goal. Terrible, boring, slow, laborious England. Boos from the crowd at the end and rightly so."
Anonymous, via text on 81111

2153: Full-time Scotland 0-0 Northern Ireland
A draw, but surely it shouldn't have been had David Healy not failed to score from the penalty spot.

2152: Carl Fletcher sends Wales sub Rob Earnshaw away with a pass down the right inside channel, but as the Forest striker cuts inside to make a better angle for a left-foot shot he has the ball nicked off his toes.

2150: Full-time England 2-2 Czech Republic
Joe Cole may not have started but he was there at the end to save England's blushes. But that goal does not paper over the cracks following a poor performance. Boos sound at the end. I wonder what Fabio made of that?

2149: GOAL England 2-2 Czech Republic
Aren't England great! A corner comes in and lots of confusion follows. Cech saves at some point on the line, the ball hits the post, there is a brief scramble and Joe Cole stabs the ball home from three or four yards.

2147: Close to full-time at Wembley. This has been awful, unless you're Czech, in which case you're probably talking about a great start to a new era.

2146: "I've lived in England for 28 years but on nights like tonight I'm glad I'm Dutch!"
Anonymous Dutchman via text on 81111

See what you're saying. I'm finding this doubly depressing.

2144: Freddy Eastwood gets a decent hand from the crowd in Swansea as he is replaced by Robert Earnshaw.

2143: "No matter what happens now this has been a poor night for England. Capello cannot have crystallised his thoughts on his attacking formation and his midfield has not functioned.

"Steven Gerrard is not a left-sided midfield player while the whole area lacked inspiration and creation. Let's hope it is another step in Capello's work in progress as he now starts the serious stuff of the World Cup qualifiers.

"And yes, that final statement is trying to drag the slightest positive from so many negatives. Play like this against Croatia and England will lose."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley

2141: Cracking save by Maik Taylor on the Northern Ireland goal to deny Birmingham colleague James McFadden. Great reflexes.

2139: England pushing for an equaliser but it does not look likely. That said, England get plenty of bodies in the box. Oh, offside against Joe Cole.

2138: If Scotland don't score and defeat NI then they will not have won a friendly at Hampden since 1996. They're almost as bad as England!

And just to note - it is Allan McGregor in goal for Scotland.

2137: Simon Davies almost finds an instant reply for Wales as he breaks from midfield to round the Georgian keeper, but he is forced wide and his goal-bound shot is too weak to beat the covering defence.

Bentley on for Lampard at Wembley. There are boos. Jermaine Jenas replaces Beckham. No boos. You do the math(s). The England midfield has simply not worked. Ten minutes left.

2133: "I think England fans should remember that the Czech Republic have been above them in the world rankings for quite some time and have, in my opinion, been one of the best five teams in Europe for a while now. It's a good test for England."
Pragueblue on the blog
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2131: GOAL Wales 1-1 Georgia
Poor defending leads to Georgia's equaliser with Levan Kenia slotting the ball home.

2130: "David James has had an attack of the jitters. Usual symptoms - nonsensical dash from goal, fumbled shot. And the strange thing is he seems to find it highly amusing.

"It's all over for the night for Wayne Rooney. It has been frustrating again for the Manchester United star, with plenty of hard work but little in the way of end product to show for it.

"He has suffered illness in pre-season, but am I alone in thinking he is not yet the player we all thought he would become when he first emerged at Everton?"
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley

2127: Fabio Capello looks absolutely furious as he implores his players from his technical area. No brolly for him. It is time to get serious and I for one could not care less if he dishes out a right royal something or other in the dressing room afterwards. I'm sensing a large chunk of the population turning against England - and who can blame them?

2126: "Leaving the ground. 40 worse off. Awful."
Anonymous, via text, on 81111

With the text being anonymous then by definition I cannot confirm this person is leaving Wembley. Anyone want to bet against me?

2125: Darren Barr goes close to marking his Scotland debut with a goal with an arrowed header from a Barry Robson corner but Maik Taylor gathers at his near post.

2124: The increasingly influential Sverkos shoots at goal. It should be regulation for James but he spills the shot and has to dive forward to gather. This is fast becoming a shambles. The atmosphere is turning and Stewart Downing is about to come on for Rooney.

The Scotland keeper, Allan McGregor, dives to his right and pulls of a superb save to deny David Healy.

Scotland's Allan McGregor hauls down Warren Feeney - only a yellow card.

2120: RED CARD
Ryan McGivern of Northern Ireland sees his debut end prematurely after he picks up a second yellow card for pulling back Scott Brown.

2117: Comedy time, only it ain't funny. Becks appeals for an offside that isn't given and Vaclav Sverkos collects the ball and charges down the flank. James has gone Awol, charging well out of his own goal. James does not get to the ball and is suddenly chasing the Czech player. Thankfully Sverkos's shot goes wide, saving England's blushes.

2116: Hey, my mistake - Barry and not Becks conceded the free-kick that led to the Czech's second goal.

"Poor Wes Brown. What should have been the hot topic, his stunning header, has been completely over-shadowed in the media room at half-time by the revelation that FA chief executive Brian Barwick is to leave his post.

"The Wembley whisper is that Barwick has been claimed by Lord Triesman's "root and branch" revolution and restructure at the FA and the official confirmation will arrive later. It will explain Barwick's, shall we say, glum first-half expression.

"It has even over-shadowed the arrival of Emile Hesley and a brilliant free-kick from Marek Jankulovski - what drama on and off the pitch!"
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley

2113: England make a double change. Jonathan Woodgate and Joe Cole come on for Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard. Plenty of surprise - Mark Lawrenson on BBC Radio 5 Live among them - that Beckham did not make way for Cole.

2112: "England are about as exciting as David Attenborough."
nite_89 on the blog
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Call me square but I think David Attenborough is actually pretty exciting. And if you don't I think that is very much your loss.

2111: The Czechs look good. England don't.

2110: We are back under way in Swansea.

2108: Gerrard breaks into the Czech area and is shaping to shoot but Ujfalusi makes a great block and the chance is gone.

2106: We are back under way at Hampden Park.

Scotland make three changes. Allan McGregor, Barry Robson and Darren Barr are the men coming on. Craig Gordon, Kevin Thomson and Stephen McManus make way. Northern Ireland bring on Dean Shiels in place of Martin Paterson.

2104: GOAL England 1-2 Czech Republic
Gareth Barry concedes a free-kick on the edge of the box and Marek Jankulovski scores with a brilliant curling free-kick. A really fantastic strike.

2103: The match restarts at Wembley. Emile Heskey is on for Defoe. The Czechs have made three changes and almost score straight away with a shot that is narrowly wide from 20 yards.

2102: "Capello promised change. Still though, he elects to use the same routine, same twilight players and plays painfully slow football. He should completely re-build the team by using playmakers such as Ashley Young, Theo Walcott and David Bentley, who can provide versatility, youth and pace and who Capello can mould to how he sees fit. We're not going anywhere with this team. Disappointing."
Connor, Blackpool via text on 81111

2058: "Everyone that dissed Fab's decision for picking Brown should beg for forgiveness. He was one of the most outstanding defenders in the PL last season...and in the CL semi and final he was immense!"
nite_89 on the blog
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2057: "Scotland are not playing with enough intelligence. We've had good periods of possession ruined by misplaced passes and we're not using the width of the pitch."
BBC Radio Scotland's in-house Mr Grumpy, Jim Traynor

2052: Half-time Wales 1-0 Georgia
I feel sorry for Georgia's keeper I really do. What a howler. Still, at least the keeper saved from Freddy Eastwood just before the break.

2052: "I can't believe Burley is playing Graham Alexander tonight, he has been simply shocking. We need more younger quality in our national side."
Chris, Galston, Scotland, via text on 81111

2049: "Great header for a much-maligned (by myself I must admit) defender, Wes Brown. Great delivery again from David Beckham, who has lost none of his trademark accuracy.

"Well-deserved equaliser for England, who responded well to going behind. Set up perfectly now."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley

2050: Half-time Scotland 0-0 Northern Ireland
The end of a dull 45 minutes at Hampden. Northern Ireland have packed men behind the ball and Scotland's passing lacks the incisiveness to cause the visitors any real problems.

2048: Some more reports coming in... FA chief executive will leave at the end of the year. He has had a difference of opinion as to how the FA should move forward with chairman Lord Triesman. We have not had these reports confirmed yet.

2047: Georgia keeper Giorgi Loria spills a Simon Davies cross from the right and Jason Koumas puts the loose ball just wide of the back post.

2046: Half-time England 1-1 Czech Republic
Not great by any stretch.

2044: GOAL England 1-1 Czech Republic
Wes Brown scores his first goal for England, heading home a David Beckham corner on the stroke of half-time.

2043: "England are still a team totally lacking invention or creativity. The Capello era promised change and yet we remain playing the same route one football with the same ineffective 'superstars'. Ugly and humiliating."
Lee, pulling no punches, Cambridge, via text on 81111

2041: Wales on top against Georgia, with Parry going close, finding the side netting from a Davies pull-back.

2040: A wet night at Wembley is making handling tricky for Cech but he stops a curling shot from Gerrard, gathering the ball at the second attempt.

2036: Long-range strike from Rooney that Cech saves. A minute later Defoe runs on to a pass and shoots, forcing a decent stop from the Czech keeper.

2036: More jinking in the danger area from James McFadden but his scuffed shot is easily gathered by Northern Ireland skipper Maik Taylor.

2035: Scotland striker James McFadden leaves three players in his wake as he bursts into the penalty box but his low cross is scrambled clear.

2032: I'm just hearing that Mikael Silvestre has joined Arsenal from Man Utd for an undisclosed fee.
Arsenal sign Man Utd's Silvestre

Crazy scenes. What does that say about how highly Alex Ferguson rates Arsenal as serious title rivals?

2031: Czech keeper Cech comes but misses a corner. Rooney heads at goal but the ball strikes Cech and is then cleared.

2031: (See 1947) "I think the main problem with friendlies is that the players don't take it seriously enough. How any manager is supposed to get a good idea of formations and tactics when their players see this as a run-around is beyond me. I'm not saying they don't take pride in playing for their country but a little more effort would make it more rewarding for fans and footballers alike."

Sean Beaver on the blog
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2030: "Milan Baros has looked lively and had troubled England's defence before he scored. Baros has presumably checked his diary and noticed one or two increasingly desperate Premier League clubs might be looking to take a chance with the transfer window creaking shut soon."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley

2026: The ball comes in to Defoe, who turns and shoots but his effort lacks power and Cech makes a regulation save.

2022: GOAL Wales 1-0 Georgia
If you're a goalkeeper look away now. Georgia keeper Loria gifts Wales the opener. In a standing position he gets both hands to a rising shot from Jason Koumas, but the ball squirms away from him and crosses the line.

2021: GOAL England 0-1 Czech Republic
Milan Baros puts the opposition ahead with a shot on the turn from eight yards that goes in via a deflection off Ashley Cole. It came at the end of a sweet approach.

"I thought it was a very good move. The Czechs were patient and they are out thinking England."
BBC Sport pundit Mark Lawrenson on 5 Live

2020: Fab has left the dugout. This is probably because the Czechs are starting to knock the ball about with an ease that so far seems beyond the technical capabilities of their opponents.

2019: Paul Parry crosses from the right and Simon Davies has a good chance but he hooks the ball well over for Wales.

2017: The Georgians are wearing black armbands. They went fairly close to a goal but Khizanishvili headed wide at the far post.

2015: Czech striker Milan Baros is very close to opening the scoring with a strike from a tight angle that David James does very well to save.

2014: A scratchy start at Hampden. Burley strokes his chin and Nigel Worthington prowls with intent in his technical area.

2013: Gareth Barry into the book for a less than well-timed tackle.

2011: Don't forget that you can text the word FOOTBALL to 81010 and receive a link to our mobile website so you can enjoy all the action while you're being dragged around the shops (by whoever).

2010: "Early visit to the technical area from Fabio Capello. Some flamboyant tic-tac aimed in Jermain Defoe's direction suggesting he should be ready for the ball in behind the Czech defence.

"Steven Gerrard's wife has reportedly revealed he is obssessed with cleanliness - he's got big problems on this Wembley surface because the early exchanges have seen several players slipping on the rain-sodden pitch. Those shorts will be filthy."
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley

2008: The match between Wales and Georgia has started. I wonder if these Georgian lads can keep it together?

Scotland are fielding a new retro feel strip at Hampden. Sometimes I think retro is a good thing, as long as this does not involve someone trying to persuade me how good Menswear used to be.

2007: The Czechs hit England on the break and Vlcek almost scores but cannot keep his effort on target from six yards. England then work the ball up field and Steven Gerrard cuts in from the left and forces a save with a low strike.

2005: David Beckham floats a free-kick into the box that Petr Cech punches clear. The ball falls to Frank Lampard but he cannot keep his effort on target from 20 yards.

2003: Solid start by England, who look to work the ball forward with confidence and patience. No cutting edge so far.

2001: National anthem of the night belongs to Georgia. Real passion and emotion. What they are going through puts our petty day-to-day problems to shame.

2000: We are underway at Wembley and Hampden.

And Darren Fleet on the blog this is for you:

Czech Republic: Cech, Grygera, Ujfalusi, Rozehnal, Jankulovski, Vlcek, Kovac, Polak, Plasil, Sirl, Baros. Subs: Zitka, Kadlec, Pospech, Jarolim, Rajnoch, Papadopulos, Sverkos.

1957: (See 1947) "England versus Argentina a couple of years ago was a brilliant 'friendly'."
Barry via text on 81111

Great shout. Shame that is probably England's footballing high point over the last few years.

1954: JT is introducing his team to the various dignitaries, one of whom looks like rugby league's Stevo. Graham Taylor on BBC Radio 5 Live reckons that JT is a good choice. The anthems are being played, the raining is falling and the top tier is far from full.

1953: A quick word on our friends from Republic of Ireland. They drew 1-1 with Norway.

1951: I am very interested in this England friendly. Living as I do so close to Wembley I'm very keen to see whether it rains and hence whether I am likely to get wet cycling home. Oh, and a sterling performance as we look forward to the World Cup qualifiers.

Northern Ireland: Taylor (capt), McAuley, McGivern, Evans, Craigan, Clingan, Baird, Davis, Healy, Paterson, Brunt.

Manchester City rookie Ryan McGivern gets his first taste of international football - but NI have only four outfield players on the bench.

1947: I am picking up some extraordinarily bad vibes on friendly fixtures. How pointless they are, how there are too many subs used, how the games always peter out after the break etc etc

Surely there must have been some cracking friendlies down the years? Surely?

1946: "Maybe I dreamt this, but didn't the penny drop some time back re: the futility of accommodating both Gerrard and Lampard in an England 4-4-2?"
Cen via text on 81111

Obviously Fab has to learn for himself. Maybe he is the alchemist who can make it work?

Wales v Georgia
Cardiff's Paul Parry plays his first Wales international for 18 months after a succession of personal problems. Wales boss John Toshack names an inexperienced central defence of Craig Morgan and Ashley Williams.

Georgia include Blackburn's Zurab Khizanishvili and a host of home-based players due to the difficulties their players in the Russian league had in being released for the match.

1941: "With every fibre of my being I hope that this bunch of semi-literate oafs get another thrashing.

"It will be the first step on the long road to firing Capello, at which point we might have an English manager with over 11 brain cells.

"Ah, but I dream too long.."
bladeswinger on the blog
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You need to stop messing about and get to the point. We haven't got all day.

1940: "We're looking for a good team performance. We've changed the shape a little bit, with two strikers, and hopefully we can give Northern Ireland a few problems."
Scotland manager George Burley talking to BBC Radio Scotland

1938: The Wales U21 team are currently losing 1-0 to Romania. Not great chat.

1934: "Northern Ireland midfielder Steven Davis should be a Rangers player in next 24 hours."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Chick Young.

The intrepid Chick also suggests the Ibrox club are nearing the signature of Australian international Mark Bresciano and Birmingham are close to a deal for Celtic's Bobo Balde.

1932: "You have to applaud the Georgian team this evening for playing under the circumstances with the conflict with Russia."
thebutlerdidit on the blog
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Well said young man - and we'll have some team news from Swansea as soon as possible.

1931: "Wembley may be sparsely populated as yet, but this is a crucial warm-up for England ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.

"England coach Fabio Capello will take a special interest in how the attacking formation of Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe operates. He needs to start finding a successful formula up front, especially with the visit to Croatia on the horizon. Why no start for Emile Heskey having surprised everyone by selecting him?"
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Wembley

1930: Scotland boss George Burley sounds pretty excited about having James McFadden in his team. It will be the first time McFadden has played since Burley took charge.

"James has got ability and talent and he's versatile," said Burley. "Certainly, his attacking prowess is his strength."

1920: "Are these players really worthy of our attention considering what we have seen over the past two weeks. There we have seen Olympians with not much money and depending on their families to survive and still bringing success while these footballers swim in their own money and bring in poor performances. Its because they do not care while the Olympians do.

"It has been said that the money going into cycling sailing and rowing has reaped the rewards. Well with all the money the FA have, surely not only should England qualify but win every tournament every time."
DPsychoS on the blog
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Wowzers, take that football. I hope you better for getting that off your chest. And to some extent a very fair point.

1915: Joe Cole is probably feeling thrilled at being left on the bench.

The Czechs are playing their first fixture since Petr Rada replaced Karel Bruckner as coach. No change in goal, though, with Petr Cech starting. He'll want to forget all about that night at Euro 2008...
Cech devastated by late mistake

1915: "Oh dear, Brown is starting, looks like we're doomed whenever the Czechs get it down the right!! Still think England will win, mind. We used to be overrated, now we're underrated!"
Real Giant Terrier on the blog
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1910: And here is some early news from elsewhere in Europe that will please Borat immensely. The first World Cup qualifying game has taken place today and Kazakhstan defeated Andorra 3-0. Those two teams are in England's qualifying group.

Scotland: Gordon, Alexander, Weir, McManus, Naysmith, Brown, D Fletcher, K Thomson, Morrison, McFadden, Miller.

Not official mind. We understand that the Scotland team includes Rangers midfielder Kevin Thomson, who will be winning his first cap. Dad's Army defenders David Weir and Graham Alexander were late call-ups and go straight into the side.

England: James, Brown, A Cole, Ferdinand, Terry (Captain), Beckham, Barry, Lampard, Gerrard, Defoe, Rooney.

No messing about tonight, straight into the team news. So, Fab has gone with Jermain Defoe and Wayne Rooney up front, while David Beckham starts in a midfield that also comprises Gareth Barry, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

1900 BST: Now then. Excited? I bet you are.

It is the first night of international football this season and hopefully we'll get some idea of how our teams are shaping up ahead of the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.

England face the Czech Republic at Wembley.

JT has the armband and I imagine that Fabio is looking for a decent performance ahead of September's qualifiers with Andorra and Croatia.

But how dangerous are the Czechs, who will be looking to impress their new boss? What are you hoping for from the game this evening?

Scotland entertain Northern Ireland at Hampden Park.

Boss George Burley is excited about the pairing of Kenny Miller and James McFadden - should he be?

Northern Ireland have suffered lots of injuries so I'm not sure what to expect from them.

And let us not forget Wales. How could we do that? The land of Nicole Cooke.

They play Georgia in what I expect to be a severe test of my spelling skills. But what would be a good result for John Toshack's men?

And if you can think of anything else interesting, amusing or just generally well worth informing us about, then get involved.
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see also
England 2-2 Czech Rep
18 Aug 08 |  Internationals
Barwick to leave post as FA chief
20 Aug 08 |  Internationals
Wednesday's football photos
20 Aug 08 |  Internationals

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