Date: 22nd November 2007 at 12:12am
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Aston Villa’s Scott Carson and Gareth Barry combined to help rob fans of the chance to cheer the country in Euro 2008 during England’s 3-2 loss against Croatia at Wembley tonight.

Goalkeeper Carson’s early clanger and subsequent comedic performance must surely leave Villa fans wondering if their club really should give Liverpool £10million in January to secure his services on a permanent basis.

Carson allowed Nico Kranjcar to open the scoring from distance after just eight minutes. The Croatian fired a speculative shot from distance and Carson, failing to remember the basics by not getting his body behind the ball, parried the attempt into the net.

Speaking on Match of the Day, Ian Wright said: “Croatia were always going to shoot from anywhere and I at least thought he’d (Carson) do the basics and get the body behind the ball. But he didn’t and he’s paid the price.”

The answer to Villa’s goalkeeping problems was arguably at fault for Croatia’s second goal when the defence blundered an attempt to catch Hamburg’s Ivica Olic offside. His poor position helped the striker to round him and knock the ball into the net.

Of course, England fought their way back into the game, somehow, but Croatia grabbed the winner with another long-range effort after 77 minutes. While Carson was unsighted for Mladen Petric’s 25-yard shot, but it could be argued that he should have been in a better position to see the attack.

Gareth Barry, who was put out of his misery by Steve McClaren at half-time, did little but lose possession while he was on the pitch. The Villa skipper quickly reverted to type following mildly successful performances in recent internationals.

While on the subject of Villa let-downs, the big question now is whether Martin O’Neill will replace Steve McClaren – as some sections of the media are calling for.

Of course, it would be hilarious to see who American football fan and Villa owner Randy Lerner would give the job to – but the good of the national team must come first. Whether O’Neill wouldn’t be a good choice for the FA – if McClaren does go – is open to question. Well, many, many questions…

Whatever happen, tonight will be remembered as the night when the club boasting to be breeding the England internationals of the future helped eliminate the England team of the day. Thanks, guys, thanks very much.