The performance by the English national team on Wednesday night was one of the worst I have ever seen.
Prior to the match, the team had played poorly during the qualifying campaign, but somehow miraculously managed to stay in contention.
After the match against Russia, England's chances of taking part in next summers European championships seemed dim. But Israel's win against Russia put the situation back in England's hands, and gave the fans new hope. With a draw against Croatia at Wembley, England would qualify for a trip to Austria.
Considering that Croatia had nothing to play for and the calibre of the English players, it seemed like an easy match. Even though Gerrard, Lampard, and Cole were either injured or suspended, all that was needed was a point. England failing to qualify was nearly unthinkable.
However, as it has happened so often before, England failed to produce when it mattered.
I was glad when I heard that Carson would be playing instead of Robinson. But the inclusion of Wright-Phillips instead of Beckham amazed me. If you are playing Peter Crouch up front on his own, then you need to have Beckham behind him to deliver the ball. Wright-Phillips offered the team nothing in the first half.
I though Beckham did what he needed to do when he came on. He's not the type of player who will change the game, but he will make a difference in his own way, and he did this by setting up Crouch's goal.
Was McClaren's sacking a surprise? No! Everyone expected it, as qualification was the minimum requirement.
Who should the next manager be? I think the FA should do everything in their power to convince Jose Mourinho to take the job. He has the ability to work players with big reputations—as well as big egos—and get results.
If they can't get Mourinho, Capello or Lippi wouldn't be a bad second choice. But one thing's for sure—the FA must make sure the next England manager isn't in charge of a mediocre English club.
Top 5 Potential England Mangers
1. Jose Mourinho
2. Fabio Capello
3. Marcello Lippi
4. Jurgan Klinsmann
5. Phil Scolari