We've seen Sven make numerous substitutions throughout previous England friendli
We've seen Sven make numerous substitutions throughout previous England friendlies, but on Wednesday night against Australia, for the first time, he began both halves with completely fresh sets of players.
We've seen Sven make numerous substitutions in previous England friendlies, but on Wednesday night against Australia, for the first time, he began both halves with completely fresh sets of players.
A familiar line-up kicked off, with the usual suspects, plus new boy James Beattie in attack while the second forty-five had another eleven with Danny Murphy, not 26 until next month, as the elder statesman. But seeing only the scores at the end of each period, you could be forgiven for thinking it was the other way around.
However, the result doesn't tell the complete story of what was an entertaining match full of opportunity and incident at both ends.
Here we take a look at the fortunes of both prides of Lions, who became the prey of Australia's Socceroos...
James, Neville, A Cole, Lampard, Ferdinand, Campbell, Beckham (c), Scholes, Beattie, Owen, Dyer.
For the opening quarter of an hour, England looked like a team who were aware of their superiority. Dictating the tempo, they played most of their football in the Bobby Moore end of Upton Park defended by Australia. However, all too often the missing ingredient, after some good build-up work, was the final spice to make a tasty end product.
And when Tony Popovic put the visitors ahead on 15 minutes, England's confidence ebbed away and their composure on the ball and desire to win went with it only to be replaced by a need not to lose.
From that moment Australia took control and their positive attitude and decisive passing highlighted their determination to be recognised as a genuine force in the world game. And perhaps they should.
There were some individual points that can be looked at positively as Sven prepares for the next challenge in Liechtenstein in six weeks time, though. Kieron Dyer shone throughout his time on the pitch and was at the heart of anything the Three Lions offered up, fulfilling the reputation that has perhaps weighed him down in the past. Marauding runs on the left, subtle touches and composure on the ball as he always looked for the best red shirt to pass to, showed that he is now comfortable in himself playing at this level.
Michael Owen, also, worked hard making intelligent runs and finding space to exploit the Aussie defence. And he and Dyer linked up well to supply England with an equaliser soon after Popovic's goal, but the linesman's flag foiled Scholes' celebrations. However, as we all are fully aware at the moment, Michael is going through a torrid time in front of goal and his three chances, which on another day he'd gobble up, fell kindly for Mark Schwarzer when he was at his most exposed.
Keen to make a mark on his debut, James Beattie put himself about as he gave England another outlet to aim long balls at. He won his fair share headers against Popovic and Moore, as well as showing some of his ability on the ball, though his two efforts from range favoured Schwarzer yet again.
But where England looked out of sorts was in a defence boasting two of the Premiership's finest centre backs and full backs of similar pedigree.
Harry Kewell, though under pressure from Gary Neville, still had an early chance to guide a Mark Viduka centre towards James' goal, Neville's interruption pushed it narrowly wide. From the resulting corner he caused trouble when he headed Lazaridis' inswinger just over, without receiving any form of physical contact from a defender. His Leeds' team-mate Viduka also had a chance in the air, again unchallenged, but David James leapt well to palm the looping back flick over the bar.
But the two first half goals summed up their night. Popovic's far-post header as he wandered in alone for one-nil preceeded Kewell's battle with Rio in which the man still plying his trade at Elland Road sent the club's former employee to the floor, allowing him the mere formality of stepping around James' dive to roll the ball into the empty net with four minutes of the half remaining.
The last thing this eleven would have wanted was to be relieved of their night's duties, they were desperate to make amends, but Sven was determined to take his opportunity to look at the new boys and after the interval a group of young men who could offer a bright future were thrown in at the deep end.
Robinson, Mills (c), Konchesky, Hargreaves, King, Brown, Murphy, Jenas, Jeffers, Rooney, Vassell.
A new team and a new formation, Sven opted for a 4-3-3 line-up and handed debuts to Paul Konchesky, Jermaine Jenas, Francis Jeffers and of course the man, or boy, of whom everyone talks, Wayne Rooney.
Many fans have yet to witness the Everton starlet, who has shot to fame in the Premiership this season, and the anticipation was realised two minutes in when he got his first touch in an England shirt.
Picking the ball up on the left, Rooney's spin opened space in a similar position from where he struck his first Everton goal against Arsenal. This time however, he delivered a perfect cross to the feet of Vassell who shot in to the side netting. But his confidence and belief was there for all to see when he had his first attempt. Linking up with Jenas for a neat one-two, Rooney struck the return from all of 35 yards. Though on target, the distance took enough out of it to cause no real concern to Schwarzer.
England were now the team bubbling with energy, their inexperience far from obvious, they showed some moments of class that the Aussies could only admire. Jermaine Jenas has been great for Newcastle United of late, and even the most pessimistic of supporters couldn't have failed to see the potential of the 19-year old who at times was head a shoulders above the yellow and green shirts.
Jenas teamed up well with Owen Hargreaves and Danny Murphy and all three were given plenty of options to feed as Jeffers, Rooney and Vassell kept running, and England were rewarded for their endeavour with 21 minutes left to play.
It was that man again, Jenas, who was played into space on the right. He crossed well for Jeffers, arriving in the area sending a header inside the far post as Schwarzer's luck finally ran out.
At the other end, Robinson was well guarded by rookies Ledley King and Paul Konchesky alongside Wes Brown and second half skipper Danny Mills. It did help when the very lively Kewell was swapped for John Aloisi, but he and Viduka still needed to be watched over. But if there were to be anymore scoring, it felt as though it would only be from the home side.
But that's football, and with six minutes to go Emerton slid home Australia's third. Aloisi found a little bit of breathing space on the right, but no sooner had the former Coventry man exhaled, than King was on him and he looked to be going nowhere. A bounce and bobble later and the ball was at the feet of the unmarked Emerton, the other side of King, and the Feyenoord winger finished well through the legs of Robinson.
So Australia win, what now?
No one likes to taste defeat, least of all Sven and his England players and against Australia, a team still making their way in international football, it can be even harder to take.
Fortune favours the brave, and Australia, for much of the first half were more adventurous than England and had their eye for goal.
But let's look at the bigger picture.
Sven is preparing for two huge games in just over six weeks time, he must be sure he is selecting the right side to give England the best hope of winning both games and eventually qualifying for Portugal.
What did he learn. Well for one thing, Rio and Sol are only human - sometimes we forget - a bad day at the office is now behind them, two very good strikers in Kewell and Viduka capitalised on their misfortune.
Becks and Scholes are still Becks and Scholes, despite defeat. We know enough about them already to understand that they can match themselves against any player on the planet.
Now, who joins them in the midfield? Centrally well Steven Gerrard obviously. What about Jermaine Jenas? Sven now knows he has the raw talent and skill - as proved against Australia - that could one day set him in the Scholes and Beckham category. Frank Lampard also, though he took time to settle, was tidy and determined.
On the left we had a good look at Kieron Dyer, so did Australia who could only watch and hope he made a mistake. He didn't. Wayne Bridge is injured, but should be back giving another option, while Owen Hargreaves certainly has what it takes and can operate anywhere across the middle.
Then we look at the forward line. Who wouldn't pick Owen? Though he failed to find the back of the net, he still looked sharp and asked questions. I think Turkey and Liechtenstein would rather see him stay behind. Partnering him up front is becoming one of those dilemmas coaches love to have.
Emile Heskey, injured for Australia. Should score more goals for a man of his ability and strength, but never lets his team down and his colleagues will tell you how valuable an asset he is for the team.
James Beattie, another threat in the air, is likewise strong on the ground. 16 Premiership goals and now a solid forty-five England minutes under his belt, looks good enough to come into consideration.
Wayne Rooney, could be set to become an England legend. Two years to the week after playing for the Under-15s, he made his Senior debut. Has belief and confidence in his own ability. Enough said.
Francis Jeffers, perhaps not first choice at Arsenal, but he knows where the back of the net is. A goal poacher with 12 in 12 at Under-21 level and 1 in 1 for the Seniors. Is there a better record?
And Darius Vassell, similar to Owen in size and speed. Likes to run at defenders and knows how to beat them. Gets goals for both club and country and has the raw talent to overcome any defender.
So it's not looking too bad. If playing 22 players is what it takes to find the right combination to beat Turkey and Liechtenstein, then get them on. Sven won't have the luxury to chop and change in those games and knows he must get it right. His only dilemma is which eleven get the nod.
What were the positivs that you take from the game? There are still players not mentioned above. Who would be your eleven to take on Turkey at the Stadium of Light on April 2nd?
Why not email your views to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will publish the best ideas