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Everton slip to third successive defeat

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Beckham benched as Robinson left out of squad

David Beckham was reduced the role of willing substitute but Paul Robinson did not even get that compensation after being axed for tonight's do-or-die Euro 2008 clash with Croatia at Wembley.

As expected, neither Beckham nor Robinson figured in what surely would be Steve McClaren's last England side if they fail to pick up the point required to reach next summer's finals in Austria and Switzerland.

Owen Hargreaves was missing too as Gareth Barry was handed the holding role in a five-man midfield.

But it was the omissions of Beckham and Robinson which raised most eyebrows when news leaked out of the England camp last night that Shaun Wright-Phillips and Scott Carson had been preferred instead.

But while Beckham was among the seven potential replacements, Robinson was forced to watch from the stands as veteran David James was named as back-up to Carson, who only made his international debut in the friendly win over Austria on Friday.

Carson hardly had enough to do in Vienna to justify his selection, so McClaren presumably decided to dump Robinson in the wake of his mistake against Russia last month which left England on the brink of a humiliating exit in the qualifying stage.

Such an outcome is still a possibility but following Israel's win over Russia, a draw would be enough, something the Three Lions have managed on each of the nine occasions they have found themselves in this position before, most notably six years ago when Beckham's injury-time free-kick saw them reach the 2002 World Cup.