AFTER a haphazard build-up, a crazy game was settled in Holland’s favour by a moment of magic from Arjen Robben to leave
England in an even more confused state last night than they had been before.
Two down after an hour following goals by Robben and Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Harry Redknapp must have been sat at home wondering whether he really wanted the “impossible job”.
By the time England had rallied manfully in the final five minutes and dragged themselves level through Gary Cahill and Ashley Young, interim boss Stuart Pearce had claims on being Fabio Capello’s replacement for Euro 2012.
Robben’s brilliant response – his second superb goal of the evening– gave the hosts a reality check.
But after the madness, now the Football Association must get to work and sort out who will lead England into the summer.
The stability Holland brought to Wembley, starting with nine of the team that began the World Cup final, under the same coach, Bert van Marwijk, contrasted sharply with the upheaval England have endured. Coach and captain were making their debuts in the role – neither secure of the status beyond tonight.
All too quickly, Pearce had to rip up his game plan as Steven Gerrard ambled off, as a precaution, after feeling a niggle in his hamstring.
Daniel Sturridge was introduction and did rather well, and was the source of England’s first shot on target after the break.
It was late on and England were 2-0 down me when Cahill collected Leighton Baines’ through ball and finished neatly.
It was the prelude to a mad finish as England seemed to have secured a draw in stoppage time when Phil Jones rolled a brilliant through ball to Young, who clipped home, only for Robben’s second moment of class to give the visitors victory.