Vogts asks to be judged on qualifiers

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The Independent Online

The most damning indictment of Scotland's supine display in their penultimate World Cup warm-up game came from their own manager. Criticising the erroneous penalty award which set Hungary up for a 3-0 romp at Hampden Park, Berti Vogts reflected: "The goal killed us."

The most damning indictment of Scotland's supine display in their penultimate World Cup warm-up game came from their own manager. Criticising the erroneous penalty award which set Hungary up for a 3-0 romp at Hampden Park, Berti Vogts reflected: "The goal killed us."

Lothar Matthäus, Hungary's coach and Vogts' fellow German, agreed. "After we scored it was easy for us," he said.

Scotland supporters are entitled to ask why - after two and a half years of Vogts' reign - the national team's spirit and structure are so fragile that a single setback against a frankly unexceptional side should have proved fatal.

After Scotland's heaviest home defeat since England beat them 5-0 in 1973, Vogts was asked whether he would "consider his position". He justifiably insisted he should be judged on whether they reach the 2006 World Cup. Matthäus, who recalled Scotland beating the Netherlands as an example of their competitive potential, suggested that qualification was eminently possible for the Scots given a full-strength team.

But Vogts had spoken so fervently about the "positive, attacking football" he wanted that the sense of betrayal over the failure to replicate his passion was all the more acute. And this against a team Vogts chose because they resemble Scotland's first group opponents, Slovenia.

Vogts continues to create problems for himself by playing men out of position; the Norwich midfielder Gary Holt was an uncomfortable right-back. The time for tinkering will be past once Slovenia come to Glasgow, although Scotland have a final friendly away to Spain on 3 September.

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