Another round of qualifiers and Germany went crashing down to the Czech Republic, 0-3 at home!
I caught the highlights and it looked like it was the reserve team playing. I can only assume that as we had already qualified, they were relaxing in the game but all credit to the Czechs who are now equal top with Germany and are the only team to beat them. Both teams qualify for the Finals next year. Unlike England...
Their qualification still hangs in the balance as they surrendered a 0-1 first half lead over the Russians to lose 2-1 which keeps the in second place. Unfortunately Russia have a game in hand and still have to play Israel and Andorra so it looks they could pip England to the post. England play Croatia in their last game (at Wembley) and the Croatians are not just league leaders but looking very smart this year. It will be tough and it may also be futile if Russia take full points from their final games.
I saw the England game live and Rooney's master strike (a long up field clearance, headed on by Owen for Rooney to chest down and volley into the roof of the net) aside, they played awfully. Clearly devoid of tactics or ideas they resorted to the long ball (ie hoof the ball up the pitch and pray) and that it seems, is all they do.
It should not have been a penalty mind you. Rooney was clearly guilty of bringing his man down (and correctly copping a yellow card for it) but it was just outside the box and should have been a free kick only. Robinson, despite guessing which way to dive had no chance as the strike was driven almost perfectly into the corner.
Then, less than five minutes later, Roman Pavluchenko scored his second and England reverted back to headless chickens, panicking and giving the ball away. Poor.
Not their best game by any chance and it's looking likely they could regret not hanging on to their lead and taking the points. Time will tell and we have to hope the Russians slip up against Israel, but I wouldn't like to be McClaren this morning.