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Camden New Journal - by PAUL COWLING
Published: 21st August 2008
England coach Fabio Capello will have his hands full to get England performing after another dreadful showing
England coach Fabio Capello will have his hands full to get England performing after another dreadful showing
Czech-ered England have much to do

Three Lions easily tamed as they turn in another abject performance


Brown 45, Cole 90
CZECH REPUBLIC 2 Baros 22 Jankulovski 48

OVERALL Team GB might be surpassing expectations in Beijing, but at Wembley last night, England's national football team once again proved they are not as good as we would like to think they are.
A scrambled 90th minute equaliser from substitute Joe Cole did nothing to lift the gloom as England turned in a dire performance against an organised Czech side, whose mostly unheralded players turn out for the likes of Osasuna, Anderlecht and Mlada Bolesav.
Perhaps it will always remain a mystery how England's glittering array of rich, but poorly performing stars can be so devoid of ideas and threat. Put simply, this was one of England's worst ever displays.
Thousands left early to avoid the predictability of London's creaking transport system, and to forget the game they were watching, and I doubt very few cared that Cole's goal had salvaged an undeserved draw with England's last scrappy move of the match.
For coach Fabio Capello time is fast running out to get his pampered players focused for what should be a relatively straightforward task; that of qualification for the World Cup Finals in 2010. But England are up against their nemesis Croatia in two crunch games, and if they play as badly again (starting on September 10th), then England will be out of contention and Capello will be out of a job.
England started the brighter, but it was the Czechs who took the lead.
Radek Sirl's measured pass found Premier League flop Milan Baros. The former Liverpool man turned a pedestrian John Terry, and his tame shot cannoned off Ashley Cole into the net on 22 minutes.
It soon became clear that England would have to rely on a set piece to draw level, and they duly did on the stroke of half time, when Wes Brown met a David Beckham corner with a thumping header that flew past Petr Cech.
The Chelsea keeper had been the busier of the two, but he was equal to anything England's feeble forwards could throw at him. Jermaine Defoe continues to prove he lacks a cutting edge at international level, and though he tried hard, it's never likely to be enough.
For all their chasing and harrying, Rooney and Gerrard lacked penetration, while you would have only known that Frank Lampard was playing because it said so on the team sheet.
Just when many thought England would turn things round in the second half , up stepped Marek Jankulovski to sweetly whip a free kick past a static David James on 48 minutes.
From there on in, England just unravelled. They never looked like scoring again, but what was far more worrying, was a ramshackle defensive display from England's back four.
The captaincy issue seemed to be weighing heavily on Rio Ferdinand and John Terry's mind: both never looked comfortable whenever the Czech's made a foray towards David James' goal. Come to think of it, James never looked comfortable either.
And you knew things were bad, when England's subdued and suffering fans whipped up a marathon Mexican wave with gusto. They were oblivious to England's abject second half display, where Czech midfielder Polak pulled the strings. The introduction of Stewart Downing and Jermaine Jenas were the short straws of desperation.
Statistically, England had more of the possession, had more shots at goal and 9 corners without reply, but it's what you do with the ball that counts, and England did nothing.
A better team then the Czechs, would have bounced the weakling three Lions out of the way. Croatia will be thinking exactly that as they lie in wait for Capello's side.

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