Well that was a desperately disappointing set of results tonight. England played well for 70 minutes, really well, but 5 minutes of poor defending cost them the match. It was a game that should have been safe after Rooney scored a belting first goal. Those misses by Gerrard and Richards looked more horrible each time they were replayed. I think everyone agrees it was a clumsy tackle by Rooney that led to the penalty but it was clearly outside the area. What was the point in sticking Lescott in there as a third central defender and expecting Joe Cole/Rooney to cover at left back given how well the Russians played against regular full backs in the second half at Wembley? And is that now the end of Robinson’s time in goal? Is there any hope of Russia dropping points against a disinterested Israel? I wouldn’t bet the house on it. The only saving grace in all this is that McQuiff Moscow now.
As if England’s result wasn’t bad enough, Scotland lost with a poor performance in Georgia. At least all they have to do is beat Italy at home to qualify. Another big ask. Wales were abject; only just beating mighty San Marino 2-1. After Tossack’s rant against the team yesterday, tonight Bellamy took the chance to rant about the Welsh fans after the match. It’s not a happy ship is it? Ireland scored a last minute goal to achieve a draw against awesome Cyprus at Croke park. Staunton’s another dead man walking.
Best result of the night was undoubtedly N Ireland’s performance (and how many times have we said that during this campaign) drawing against Sweden away. It’s possible, if unlikely, that they could still qualify. How would it be if N.Ireland and Scotland got through against all the odds whilst England failed to qualify from an easier group? Ironic, justified and utterly painful. Thank God for the bloody rugby.