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All Things Footie | Thursday, August 16 | Jordan

Ruud Awakening

Might as well get the headline out of the way early in the season. I toyed with 'the future's bright.... the future's orange' but thought it best to keep the Dutch triumphalism toned down.

To detail England�s faults and the Dutch strengths (not least being able to bring Hasselbaink off the bench when starting Kluivert and Van Nistelrooy) would take longer than necessary to make the point. The point being that although England have certainly made progress since Eriksson took charge, all we have is the embryo of a great team and there is a lot more still to do.

Through the patriotic haze we must remember that beating Albania, Finland and in competitive games is more what a country of England�s supposed stature should achieve and not something to be all that proud of.

To be fair to Sven there wasn't a lot he could do, the Dutch football was impeccable - crisp passing, direct at times elegant and whimsical at others. Cross-field balls that tore England�s narrow formation to pieces, and there lies the one mistake I thought Eriksson made last night.

Van Bommelled

For a team with Holland�s ability to rip defenders to shreds out wide - utilising Zenden, Overmars, Reiziger and Van Bronkhorst - playing with three across midfield and assigning Carragher to the non-existent role of picking up the man behind the strikers, was suicide. Carragher looked overworked and underskilled trying to contain Cocu and Van Bommel - with Beckham, Scholes and Hargreaves breaking from midfield - and was arguably at fault for both goals. Van Bommel should have been closed down quicker before he was allowed a shot, however it's difficult to find fault with anyone for that impeccable strike, and Van Nistelrooy shouldn�t have been allowed to turn as easily shortly before the second.

The practical upshot of this tactical mistake was the Gary Neville and Ashley Cole were left to contain over a third of the Dutch side and the players posing the most significant attacking threat.

That said, Van Nistelrooy showed Andy Cole a thing or two about being a centre forward.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Andy Cole's presence up front was as much of an attacking threat to Holland�s defence as a I was, in the pub. His first touch and his concrete inability to think and move at the same time exposed only how clueless the lad is when it comes to performing on the international stage, or for that matter in the FA Sunday Trophy. How he's survived the best part of half a decade as a forward for the most successful club in the country only goes to show that even Alex Ferguson can get it wrong.

Scholes looked lively and Beckham did give us one phenomenal run, Owens' second half cameo gave us a bright spot - although why Sven partnered him with Cole instead of Fowler is a mystery to me. Hargreaves and Ashley Cole overlapped nicely a couple of times but had little time given the ferocity of the Dutch wide men and Carrick's second half appearance certainly gave a glimpse of a bright future.

The Future's Bright... The Future's England

At least the U21's gave us something to cheer, a superb performance from the youngsters on Tuesday night must have given David Platt something to cheer. John Terry produced an impressive captains performance and the midfield was bossed by Fulham's Sean Davis with an confident and accomplished performance. Chadwick was also excellent running constantly, twisting and turning leaving the Dutch mystified.

I'm sure you're very bored of reading my ramblings by now so I'll just say, Jermain Defoe.

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