Fri, Aug 24, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Robinson's blunder aids German victory

AFP, LONDON

England's Micah Richards, left, looks on as his captain John Terry, right, attempts a shot, while Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann ties to stop him, during their friendly international soccer match at Wembley Stadium, London, on Wednesday.

PHOTO: AP

England manager Steve McClaren said he would take his time to reflect on goalkeeper Paul Robinson's error before deciding whether to drop him.

The Tottenham Hotspur keeper was at fault for Germany's equalizer at Wembley on Wednesday as England lost 2-1 to their old rivals.

It is not the first time Robinson has blundered on international duty, costing his side a goal.

But McClaren said he would not be rushed into any hasty decisions on whether to axe Robinson after three years as England's first-choice goalkeeper.

"I can't say anything at the moment who'll be in the team because in three weeks we might have more injuries than what we've got at the present moment," a tight-lipped McClaren said after the defeat.

"Let's get two weeks out the way, let's name a squad and see where we are. I haven't had a real good chance to study it and to look at it in detail," he said of Robinson's error. "I'm disappointed to have conceded that goal. There may have been a mistake but there were two or three mistakes before that which we shouldn't have allowed, so I'm disappointed with the goals overall."

"With performances you have to reflect on them and then make decisions later on," he said on Robinson's future.

Portsmouth keeper David James was brought back in from the cold, making his first England appearance for two years in a pre-planned halftime substitution, three years on since Robinson dislodged him as first choice.

England, seeking to reach the UEFA 2008 European Championships, are fourth in qualifying Group E. They face Israel on Sept. 8 and Russia on Sept. 12 in a crucial double-header at Wembley which England cannot afford to get wrong.

McClaren said it was not the time to state publicly "anything about the team in the future."

The former Middlesbrough boss predicted Michael Owen would be back to full fitness for next month's matches.

The striker had played just 27 minutes for Newcastle this season before his hour-long run-out against Germany.

"For Michael Owen that was his first start and against Germany at Wembley is a tough match to come into. In two or three weeks with games under his belt he will be sharper," McClaren said. "That was an ideal game for us. It was a tough game, it was a hard game physically. For some of our players it was their fourth game in 10 days."

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard put England ahead in the ninth minute but Robinson's weak clearance gifted Schalke striker Kevin Kuranyi an equalizer in the 26th minute.

Schalke left-back Christian Pander, making his Germany debut, scored the winner in the 40th minute, blasting a superb shot past Robinson from distance.

Lampard said the England squad had to avoid a doom-and-gloom outlook.

"We're disappointed to lose the game. But we've got two weeks and if we want to think negative and let our heads go down it's not going to help anyone," he said.

Meanwhile, Germany coach Joachim Loew was thrilled after his side became the first to beat England at the new Wembley stadium. They also ended England's days at the old Wembley with a 1-0 win in 2000.

"There are very few places in the world where winning is such a nice experience," he said. "For the first 20 minutes we showed too much respect to England, but the equalizer was a big help and we started to play with much more courage and in the end we dominated the game."

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