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Friday, 21 June, 2002, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Butcher: England exit with a whimper
Terry Butcher

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England's exit from the World Cup against Brazil has left the whole country feeling flat - and the sense of disappointment is understandable.

Brazil are a good side without being a great one, and I think the one regret England will have is the manner in which they went out.

England have gone out of previous World Cups with a bang.

Even the exit in the last 16 against Argentina in France four years ago was regarded as a glorious failure after a great game.

But when you get to a quarter-final of the World Cup, you just hope you are going to play to the very best of your ability and come out on top.

Michael Owen is shattered after England's defeat
Despair for Michael Owen

England's departure was a very flat one in the second half, although I think they did very well to get to this stage and it was a bonus to reach the quarter-finals.

It was all going to plan for 44 minutes and I was very comfortable with what I had seen and how England were coping with Brazil - but it was the timing of the goal that did it for Sven-Goran Eriksson's men.

In the space of five minutes England had gone from 1-0 up to 2-1 down, a real setback against any team, let alone one of the calibre of Brazil.

Michael Owen scored with a fantastic finish, and while England will look at Brazil's sloppy equaliser and regret a few things that happened, it was a great goal.

Ronaldinho's skill was brilliant in the way he showed pace and balance, beat Ashley Cole then set up Rivaldo for an exquisite finish.

David Seaman was obviously devasted to be beaten by Ronaldinho's free-kick for the winner, but it was the sort of freak incident that can happen in football.

Brazil's Ronaldinho
Joy for Ronaldinho after his winning goal

I don't believe Ronaldinho meant to score. I think he played it in with maybe more pace than he intended and caught David out.

It was a bitter moment for David, but he has had a good World Cup and there was still 40 minutes for England to claw it back - the fact that they didn't look like doing it was a disappointment.

I felt England sat back too much in the second half when Brazil were down to 10 men.

We had to be aware of Ronaldo and Rivaldo, but I would have liked us to have had a go at Brazil in the same way Argentina did when they had England on the rack in the second half in Sapporo.

I wanted us to push and harass them all the way, but I felt it just wasn't happening for us.

We must give Brazil credit as well. They kept the ball brilliantly when they needed to.

It was unfortunate for England that they couldn't get Michael Owen into the game more, especially as he was someone who could really threaten the Brazilians.

England leave with bitter disappointment, but I think they did well to get as far as they did and it is not as if they were the victims of a shock.

Brazil are a team that could go all the way - and Eriksson's England will have a real chance at the European Championships in 2004.


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