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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 June 2006, 18:14 GMT 19:14 UK
BBC pundits on England

England qualified for the World Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over Ecuador, but their performance again left some nagging questions.

Can they prosper by playing the 4-5-1 formation that was deployed by Sven-Goran Eriksson in Stuttgart?

Does the lone striker's role suit the myriad talents of Wayne Rooney and is Michael Carrick the right man for the holding position in midfield?

BBC pundits Graham Taylor, Alan Hansen and Alan Shearer give their verdicts.

Graham Taylor
By Graham Taylor
Former England manager and Five Live Sport summariser

It's very difficult to know what to say after that match.

Yes, England are through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup. But you could argue this has been the most disappointing display of their four games so far.

Did Michael Carrick really come in and do the job we expected him to? I think the answer is no.

Wayne Rooney on his own up front - did that look like it would work? Again, no.

And I looked at the 4-5-1 system and wondered if the players really knew what was expected of them.

When you change a system it has to be fully explained. I'm not saying Sven-Goran Eriksson hasn't done that, but I'm not certain you have enough time in a tournament like this for that understanding to come through to all the players.

It's not been a good game from England's point of view, but we've had a free kick and David Beckham's converted it.

There's not a lot more you can say than that.

Except for the result, the one big positive is that Rooney had 90 minutes of competitive football and that can't do him anything but good.

But my view is that he needs somebody closer to him in attack because the lone striker's role doesn't bring the best out of him.

Alan Hansen
By Alan Hansen
BBC Sport pundit

My man of the match was Michael Carrick, who gave a cracking display of the holding midfielder's role.

Michael Carrick
Carrick: Should have cemented his place in the side
I don't know why he hasn't played before at this World Cup. I saw him play in the pre-tournament friendly against Uruguay and he was terrific.

Whatever the reason for his omission from the side after that, I think he's in for keeps now.

The energy levels of Wayne Rooney also amazed me in this game - he seemed to get stronger as the game went on.

But there were some slightly less impressive performances from a couple of other players in the England side.

John Terry has made as many mistakes in the last couple of games as he has for the last year-and-a-half.

And although Beckham's goal was absolutely brilliant, he didn't give England a lot else.

Can you have someone in the team purely because of their set pieces? I don't think so.

Alan Shearer
By Alan Shearer
Former England captain and BBC Sport pundit

Wayne Rooney and Ashley Cole ran Michael Carrick very close as my man of the match.

Wayne never stopped running and setting chances up - I thought he was brilliant.

The lone striker's role was something slightly different for him. He had to get hold of the ball and wait to bring people in, which is not what he usually does for Manchester United or England.

But he did it great and his energy and involvement seemed to increase as the game went on.

Ashley Cole was sharp throughout and his block to thwart Carlos Tenorio in the first half was as good as Beckham's goal.

He made up 15 or 20 yards to get in the last-ditch tackle and deflect the ball onto the crossbar - it was absolutely fantastic.

SEE ALSO
Terry Butcher's England view
26 Jun 06 |  England
England 1-0 Ecuador
25 Jun 06 |  World Cup 2006
I proved critics wrong - Beckham
25 Jun 06 |  England
Pick your England team
08 May 06 |  Squad selectors
England team guide
22 May 06 |  England
World Cup schedule
25 May 06 |  Schedule
Have your say on the World Cup
28 Apr 06 |  Football
BBC World Cup coverage
27 Apr 06 |  BBC coverage


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