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Manchester derby 6 hours ago
By ESPN Staff
Jul 1, 2006

Blatter denies he called England 'boring'

FIFA president Sepp Blatter insists he is happy to meet with England's players to put into context his apparent criticism of their performances in the World Cup so far.

The head of football's world governing body attacked England's approach in the second-round win over Ecuador, when manager Sven-Goran Eriksson played Wayne Rooney on his own up front.

Blatter tried to clarify his comments this morning and said he would be happy to explain his remarks to the team.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: 'I have not said that England are negative, I have compared England when they played their last match to Switzerland (who drew 0-0 with Ukraine and lost on penalties in a dire game) but with the positive comment that, playing with one striker, they qualified which means they have the added quality to qualify.

'It's not up to me to criticise the teams, especially not those that are going forward.'

He added: 'They are not bad. They haven't taken more risks than Switzerland against Ukraine by playing with only one striker but I also said - and I confirm it - that they have enough good players to make the difference and they did it with this wonderful free-kick (from David Beckham) which did mean that England are still on the road.

'I will be at the match in Gelsenkirchen against Portugal and I will be happy to meet with the English team.'

In a German newspaper, Blatter said he was happy with the commitment to attacking football in the opening stages of the World Cup.

But he added: 'The only exception is England, who fielded just one striker in their second-round match.

'That is not the kind of offensive football you would expect from a title contender.'