Fans at Villa Park tonight encountered a 4-3-3 formation from England (in fact Holland played with the same formation), an experiment which resulted in a dull game
and a goalless draw. However, it is better to test different strategies now in a friendly, than in a meaningful game with valuable points at stake. Both Andy
Johnson and Stewart Downing made their debuts for England in the second half. Holland were without influential players Ruud van Nistelrooy and Arjen Robben.
England started off the match brightly but Holland soon dominated possession. The home side were lucky not to concede an early goal when Kuyt's
shot beat Robinson and somehow bounced off the inside of the post, where England were able to advert further danger. England were
able to claw their way into the game with Wright-Phillips seeing his shot deflected out of play, Gerrard had a chance go begging when he
hit the ball over the bar, and shockingly, later, Wright-Phillips couldn't tuck the ball into the net from just six yards!
Both Kromkamp and Makaav tested England's goalkeeper early in the second half with volleys. England's captain tried one of his trademark free-kicks
but Van der Sar was able to thwart the opportunity with ease. Holland did manage to get the ball into England's net but the goal was disallowed
following a foul on Ashley Cole. A goal for either team may just have brought this game to life. As it was, the game fizzled out with the final
shots on goal going to Holland but without real threat.
England have well over a month before their next game, time to improve and put some sparkle back into their game.
Robinson, G Neville, Carragher, Brown, A Cole, Gerrard (Jenas 81 mins), Beckham (Dyer 81 mins), Lampard (Hargreaves 46 mins), Wright-Phillips
(Downing 61 mins), Owen, Rooney (A Johnson 61 mins).
Subs Not Used: G Johnson, James, P Neville, J Cole, Defoe, Green. (Full Squad)
Van der Sar, Kromkamp, Boulahrouz, Mathijsen, van Bronckhorst, Castelen (Yildirim 63 mins), Heitinga (van Brommel 61 mins), Landzaat,
Van der Vaart, Makaay, Kuyt.
Subs Not Used: De Jong, Mechiot, Timmer.
Referee: Peter Frojdfeldt (Sweden)