Anorak News | Back To The Future

Back To The Future

by | 11th, June 2003

‘ONLY one thing matters in tonight’s clash between England and Slovakia at the Riverside tonight and that is the result.

England will expect goals from the Owen-Rooney combination

After making up for the disappointment of the home draw against Macedonia with a deserved 2-0 win over Turkey, England must not surrender the momentum.

They know that if they win the three games against the minnows of the group – Slovakia, Macedonia and Liechtenstein – they will not need more than a draw in their final match in Turkey to qualify for Euro 2004 as group leaders.

That in itself will not be easy, but having to win over there is much, much harder.

Of course, England should win – but Slovakia are not push-overs. They took the lead against England in Bratislava and were only narrowly beaten by Turkey at the weekend.

With wins in Macedonia and at home against Liechtenstein, they can still just about qualify for second place – so they have plenty to play for apart from pride.

The crucial part of the game for England is likely to be the defence.

Traditionally, England’s problem has been scoring goals, but recently it has been at the back where they have shown greatest weakness.

With an inexperienced back five, comprising David James, Ashley Cole, Matthew Upson, Gareth Southgate and probably Danny Mills, it is vital that Sven Goran Eriksson tightens things up.

England have leaked goals to Macedonia and Slovakia already in this qualifying group – and have looked shaky at the back in their recent friendlies.

They conceded a goal a piece against South Africa and Serbia-Montenegro, and three in that woeful match against Australia.

With the likes of Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney up front and Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes in midfield, you have to fancy that England will score against most opposition.

However, whether one goal will be enough depends on the performance at the back. ‘

Posted: 11th, June 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink