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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 September, 2003, 19:10 GMT 20:10 UK
Hansen's verdict on England
Alan Hansen
By Alan Hansen
BBC Sport football expert

When you are struggling, as England often are, nine times out of 10 David Beckham will come up with the goods.

It was a captain's performance from Beckham against Macedonia, and it was more than anything his commitment that stood out.

Beckham celebrates his winning penalty in Skopje

He's just got so much energy, he is constantly running all over the pitch, and he is such a great example to the other England players.

Sven-Goran Eriksson's side produced a very mediocre performance on the day and I don't think they have shown significant progress in this competition.

It was the type of game where you win it and worry about the display later, but England should worry because one day they will play a side who will take their chances and not let them back into the game.

Their main problem at the moment, and we've seen it in the last few games, is that England give away too many chances.

We knew that eventually someone would take one of these chances, and that's what happened in the first half.

Whenever this England side seems to come under pressure they seem to fall apart.

Will England qualify for Euro 2004? Yes. Will they win it? Probably not

It really was a comedy of errors for the Macedonia goal; schoolboy, juvenile stuff from Gary Neville and Sol Campbell.

For a start, Neville was five yards behind his central defenders, his position was so bad it was untrue. And what Campbell was doing when the cross came in, only he knew.

What you have to do defensively is make the opposition work hard to score, and England did not do that.

But they got back into it and bringing on Emile Heskey and changing the formation in the second half was a brave move by Eriksson.

Heskey was probably their best player after the break, and it was his great knock-down that set up Wayne Rooney for the equaliser.

But the defending was terrible throughout. At one stage in the second half Campbell had his hand up for offside when there were SIX England players and a few Macedonians behind him!

Will they qualify for Euro 2004? Yes. Will they win it? Probably not.







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