Apologies for the temporary obsession with England, but in many ways it seems they are to International Football what Fulham are to the League. Tonight was shocking. I wasn't really surprised but when Peter Crouch scored that equaliser I did allow myself to believe that against all expectations we were going to manage to qualify. However, just like Fulham, England always revert to type and having got ourselves back in the game by attacking we tried to sit back and defend, against a team that was technically, organisationally and passionately better than us, and paid the price.
I've criticised England for their lack of passion before tonight and there wasn't much in evidence again tonight, but I actually think the biggest problem we had to overcome was (as former Fulham manager Mickey Adams would have said) the fear of failure. You could sense it as soon as Carson made that mistake on 8 minutes and again when having levelled the scores we tried to stop Croatia from attacking. Where were our leaders on the pitch? Gerrard, Lampard, Campbell? Nowhere. The root cause of our problems come from poor management though, and if McClaren hasn't been shown his P45 by lunchtime tomorrow I'll be very disappointed. Frankly the entire F.A. management board needs to be given the boot and replaced with a more efficient organisation but we all know that won't happen.
I really don't know who we get to take us on from here. I was keen on Martin O'Neil before McClaren got the job but would be happy with Hiddink or Scholari. There are few genuine English candidates but, despite really disliking him, I'd even accept Sam Allardyce as a move in the right direction. Whoever gets the job needs to build a new team around our younger players and move away from the reliance on supposedly star players. We need 26 players who we know can do the job they are asked to do, something that seems to have found difficult to achieve with 11 players.
A day of sulking then I'll be back to talk about Fulham ahead of the weekend fixtures.