Sparky fails to inject the right spark

Hughes left to contemplate gulf in class after Wales struggle to challenge England's supremacy
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It may not have been men against boys but England were far superior. At times, it looked like they were playing five-a-side football rather than a World Cup qualifier. Certainly if they'd put their foot on the pedal a bit harder, they could have been at least 2-0 up at the break.

It may not have been men against boys but England were far superior. At times, it looked like they were playing five-a-side football rather than a World Cup qualifier. Certainly if they'd put their foot on the pedal a bit harder, they could have been at least 2-0 up at the break.

Wales gave England far too much time on the ball by not getting tight enough and the midfield revelled in all the space they were given. It was very brave of Sven Goran Eriksson to pick three strikers and it obviously paid off.

Wayne Rooney played quite well in the first half, Jermain Defoe, for him, had a bit of a quiet afternoon, while I thought Michael Owen was the best of the three. Had their strikers been a little less selfish, then England could have won by more. When Rooney brushed off Mark Delaney near the byline and went for goal, he should have squared the ball but he's a young lad who's been in the limelight a lot lately and he probably saw a chance of glory.

To be fair to Wales, they were very unlucky to lose Andy Melville in the warm-up. They were struggling defensively anyway and to be without him was a big blow - even though he's not been playing much football for West Ham recently. I can understand Mark Hughes not drafting in another central defender like Cardiff's James Collins. He didn't have a great game against Northern Ireland, this was a big match against the old enemy and Delaney is an experienced international who's played centre-half for Aston Villa.

When someone like Andy pulls out just before kick-off, you have to re-adjust at the last minute and I think Wales were just caught cold. They were always going to be up against it after conceding that early goal and England coasted it for the rest of the first half.

Wales could have changed formation at half-time and given John Hartson more support up front. "Sparky" was probably thinking that a draw away from home would have set them up nicely for the game against Poland in Cardiff on Wednesday, but there are times in a match when you have to be strong and make changes. That's the kind of challenge you face as a manager. I feel Robert Earnshaw could have been brought on a lot earlier than he was. He might have created something for Wales. They had nothing to lose so they might as well have gone for it.

The second goal was typical David Beckham. He's been receiving a lot of flak of lately and he answered his critics in the best way possible. He's a strong-willed character and he's got that ability to bounce back and sting the opposition.

I think we have to remember that Wales have a limited number of quality players to choose from. We seem to have a group of six or seven good ones and the rest are journeymen brought in from lower-division clubs. Yesterday, they were up against a team made up of superstars who are with some of the best clubs in the world, like Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid, so we shouldn't be too surprised by the result.

That said, it was disappointing that Wales won so few corners and only forced Paul Robinson to make one save - from Gary Speed's header towards the end of the first half.

It was a disappointing return to Old Trafford for both Hughes and Ryan Giggs. I must admit I don't think Giggsy is used properly by Wales. Instead of playing out on the left wing, he should be given more of a free role which takes him where it takes him.

As for the immediate future, Wales have to beat Poland if they're going to stand any chance of finishing second in the group. If they don't pick up three points against the Poles, they can say goodbye to 2006 in Germany.

On a personal note, I was delighted to see Speed equalling my record as the most capped Welsh captain in his 43rd appearance as skipper. I gave him his first cap as a substitute in a 1-0 win against Costa Rica in 1990 and Gary has been a wonderful servant of Welsh football. It's very fitting that he'll break the record when he leads out his country against Poland at the Millennium Stadium.

Terry Yorath, former Wales captain and manager and now assistant manager at Huddersfield Town, was talking to Grahame Lloyd

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