HomeSportEngland crash out, fire coach

England crash out, fire coach

STEVE McClaren was sacked as England head coach yesterday following their failure to qualify for the European Championship finals next year, the Football Association confirmed.

McClaren’s reign ended after the 3-2 defeat b

y Croatia on Wednesday crushed England’s hopes of qualifying for next year’s European Championships

“At a meeting this morning the FA board unanimously decided to terminate the contract of Steve McClaren with immediate effect,” FA chairman Geoff Thompson told a news conference.

“The board agreed to a full root and branch examination of the whole England set-up with immediate effect.”

The FA said it had also terminated the contract of assistant coach Terry Venables.

England needed a draw against Croatia to seal a place in Euro 2008 but defeat means they will be missing from a major finals for the first time since the 1994 World Cup.

A 10-man FA board met from 0830 GMT for an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss McClaren’s future. McClaren had said on Wednesday he would not resign.

McClaren was appointed in May 2006 and took over from Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson after last year’s World Cup in Germany where England reached the quarter-finals.

Speculation is now turning to who the FA will choose to lead the qualification for the 2010 World Cup which begins next year. Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was quoted as 7-2 favourite with British bookmakers.

Meanwhile, Russia joined Sweden, Turkey and Portugal as the last four qualifiers for next year’s European championship on Wednesday after England’s hopes were shattered.

Russia were the 16th and final team to reach Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria next June after Guus Hiddink’s men leapfrogged England in Group E with a 1-0 victory in Andorra. Croatia had already qualified last weekend.

Sweden booked their place with a 2-1 victory over Latvia in Stockholm, Turkey made sure with a 1-0 home over visitors Bosnia and a 0-0 draw was enough for Portugal at home to Finland.

The night’s real drama was at Wembley, where England had needed only a draw to go through but were 2-0 down within 14 minutes after goals from Niko Kranjcar and Ivica Olic. They rallied in the second half with a Frank Lampard penalty and a 65th minute strike by Peter Crouch, only to squander their chance to qualify by conceding a third goal to substitute Mladen Petric in the 77th minute.

Dmitiri Sychev got Russia’s winner over Andorra to seal their place in a pulsating end to the qualifiers.

Germany were the first country to emerge from the group competition in mid-October, while the 2006 World Cup winners Italy and beaten finalists France were among those to come through last weekend, along with fellow favourites Netherlands.

Holders Greece, the surprise winners at Euro 2004, Spain, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania and Croatia complete the lineup. The two host nations qualified automatically. — Reuters.

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