Football: World Cup: 'We really wanted to deliver the goods . . . but it was not to be'

Click to follow
GRAHAM TAYLOR, the England manager, described the draw as one of 'the biggest disappointments' of his career. 'It hurts. Everyone in the dressing-room is bitterly disappointed. It's very rare that a team play as well as we did and not win.' No one at Wembley, least of all the Dutch manager, would disagree.

Dick Advocaat, the Netherlands' smiling manager, conceded that Taylor's men should have prevailed. 'They were the better team than Holland. They put so much pressure on us and that's why we couldn't play our precision game.'

Taylor had called for his players to hustle the Dutch out of their stride; this tactic worked brilliantly until four minutes from time. 'Holland have been playing their pattern of play for years; this new England side have been playing this way for only five games. And we could have been 3-0 up when David Platt connected with Barnes's free-kick.'

Advocaat's decision to substitute his captain, Ruud Gullit, was not tactical - the Milan player was struggling with a recurrence of an old knee injury - but it forced a tactical switch which brought the Dutch an unexpected point. Marc Overmans, the Ajax winger, moved over to the right flank and with one late run broke England's rearguard resistance, when Des Walker fouled him in the area. 'It was definitely a penalty,' Platt said. Taylor, however, refused to apportion blame. 'Des did make contact with the lad outside the area and he did go down in it, but I've no complaints.'

Given the array of dead-ball expertise in the Dutch ranks, eyebrows were raised when Gullit's replacement, Peter van Vossen, stepped up for the penalty. 'There was no problem with him taking it,' Advocaat added. 'He's a very experienced player.' As Wembley erupted in a cacophony of jeers and boos, Van Vossen's composure showed.

Taylor felt that both the Dutch goals resulted as much from English mistakes - losing possession in midfield - as from effortless Dutch finishing. 'We really wanted to deliver the goods, there was a full crowd who were magnificent and the players responded but it was not to be.'

Paul Gascoigne, who was felled by a blatant elbow by Jan Wouters, underwent an X-ray in Wembley's mini-hospital for a suspected depressed fracture of the cheekbone. 'Fortunately it isn't, but there is a slight indentation on his jaw.'

Comments