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England's Euro Loss is Press' gain

The English press react in the most stringent manner possible, to describe England's Euro '08 qualifying shocker. Here are some samples:

sports Updated: Nov 22, 2007 18:10 IST

Sampling of newspaper comment Thursday following England's 3-2 defeat to Croatia, which left the team out of the 2008 European Championship and led to the firing of coach Steve McClaren:

"England in gutter and out of Euro 2008" - headline in The Sun, whose front page was simply a photo of a burst soccer ball lying in a gutter. "This was supposed to be the night when we got off the hook. Instead, the corpse of English football was left hanging from it." - Sun writer Steven Howard.

"The golf umbrella under which McClaren hid with such unintentional irony from the storm breaking around his head was never going to save him from drowning at a rain-drenched Wembley." - Daily Mail writer Jeff Powell.

"He should have been out there in his shirt sleeves, water pouring down his face, arms and veins pumping, meeting it head on. Instead, while everyone braved the elements, he was making sure what remains of his hair didn't get wet." - Sun writer Steven Howard.

"Euro 2008 has twin hosts. England are in two places too. Elsewhere and nowhere. They were beaten by a far better team, who were simply the latest to painfully deliver the lessons Englishmen cannot learn." - Daily Express writer John Dillon.

"Ball after ball was thumped, chipped or lobbed in the general direction of Peter Crouch, the symbolic big man in whom English football has always placed its faith. Where, one had to ask, was Croatia's big man?" - Guardian writer Richard Williams.

"Let's not just blame the weather for the outcome, though. Let's also blame the NFL. It hardly helped that the Wembley pitch had recently been churned to a puree by a bunch of American heavies in helmets. The more it rained, the more the gridiron lines began to emerge beneath the grass. Suddenly it was second and down at the Croatia 20-yard line. Say what you like about the wisdom of playing Peter Crouch on his own up front, but he rushed an impressive 45 yards in that first quarter, bringing his career total in Wednesday night football to 126 yards." - Times of London writer Giles Smith.

"English football does have its Hollywood connection but it would appear this time even Beckham's scriptwriters, like those in Los Angeles, were on strike." - Times of London writer Martin Samuel.