It's that man again…

…Big Phil in the quarters.

After two wildly differing second round games it’s England versus Luiz Felipe Scolari in the quarter finals for the third straight major championship.

England’s nemesis at the last World Cup and Euro Championship will be out looking for the hattrick, against the country whose tob job he also turned down for this very reason, while England will be looking to not surrender as meekly as they did in those last two meetings.

Can Sven finally get the better of the man who should have been his successor, well after Hiddink anyway, after his insipidness led to the defeat by Brazil in Shizuoka, Japan in the 2002 World Cup and then along with Rooney’s broken foot brought another losing penalty shootout against the hosts Portugal at Euro 2004 – both times after England had taken a lead thanks to Michael Owen.

Well we’ve got to the last 8 without really playing any decent football or meeting any good teams are we going to do a Germany 2002 ? Portugal will be by far the stiffest test so far but them being definately without Costinha and Deco and possibly Crybaby Ronaldo England should have a better chance or progressing.

The thing is I feel it’s almost there for England but it may unfortunately be stifled by Beckham’s winning free kick against the, somewhat lacklustre, Ecuadorians.

It was nice to silence a few people who have been critical. I can handle my criticism and I’ll prove them wrong. - David Beckham

Not silencing this one, yes he scored the goal but for the other 94 minutes what did he do ? That’s right sod all. So inept you have to wonder if he was really aiming for John Terry’s head at the back post with the scoring free kick, and it was a surprise to all he got it passed the first defender.

Of course this and the resultant Zidane Euro 2002 style upchuck following with keep him in the starting XI, when both should see him benched.

I didn’t feel well before the game but I thought I would be fine and in the first half I felt fine, but the sickness continued in the second half and it just came out. - Beckham after blowing chunks – click for pic if you really must

So in other words you put your own self interest of keeping your place in the starting eleven above the team and your country.

Beckham may be as thick as they come but he knows if Lennon starts wide right it would be the end for Goldenballs, because this formation 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 requires the two wide men to get up and support the lone front runner, especially when it’s a job that guy (Rooney) has never done before. That’s why teams that use it, Chelsea Holland etc, have their speed merchant dribblers in those positions – Joe Cole, Arjen Robben, Damian Duff and the like – Beckham can’t do this, never could and he never will, far too slow of thought and deed.

Lennon on the other hand well did more in the few minutes he was on to show this than Beckham in the last 4 games.

With Lennon speeding up the right and Cole playing the way he does for Chelsea, not the stupid flicks and crap he tried yesterday then this formation would work well.

The excuses came out for Beckham though, Hargreaves said by some to have had a crap game at right back, not bombing past Beckham enough, well everytime he did so Beckham never found him and was generally only passed the ball when well marked, well Dave will want his “best man” back in the team. Hargreaves played well as he does when he starts games and with a better player infront of him would do more, thought don’t know if anyone can bomb past Lennon.

The other person to threaten Beckham’s place got extreme mixed views, some saying Michael Carrick was England’s man-of-the-match others that he was useless in all departments. :roll:

When actually given the ball, did seem some reluctance to do so to begin with, Carrick showed how he can run a game with not only his wide range of passing but his ability find and create space for himself. He’s normally there unmarked to receive the ball and get others out of trouble and when marked himself he can seems to be able to get that bit of space needed to extract himself from danger.

This is what England have been crying out for for years, a playmaker someone so comfortable on the ball that can run the game, can use either foot and can release the attackers with short, long any type of pass. An intelligent player.

Ashley Cole had some good last ditch saving challenges but he still insists on coming inside all the time, whether attacking or defending, if Ronaldo does play for Portugal there’s no way Cole can let him have all the space he normally gives the opposition’s right sided players and he has to do something about his attacking, there’s never any end product bar Cole falling over or losing the ball. One consolation it was against Ronaldo and Portugal in Euro 2004 that Cole probably ahd his best game in an England shirt, especially in defence.

What has happened to Frank Lampard ? England’s most consistent player over the last couple of years is nowhere, more shots than any other player in Germany but most have been nothing attempts, meekly hitting the keeper or flying high, wide and not very hansom. Are the last few seasons of non-stop games for Chelsea & England finally catching up with him ? Cause it’s not just the shooting but the allround game that’s MIA, though it may help him if when Gerrard actually passing to him it’s not hammered like Lamps is 50 yards away.

The defence had it’s shakey moments against Ecuador, again Terry has had the odd mishap and Robinson has flapped a bit, though I have to wonder if the latter’s attempted punch out had actually more to do with wanting to give Rio a slap across the back of the head. I don’t know if either Terry or Robinson have any confidence in Rio, there’s something not right there at all. Though who wasn’t happy at the sight of Robinson being fit to carry on with the prospect of James coming off the bench.

So it’s Big Phil, it’s the last 8, maybe this time…

Good evening. The game you are about to see is the most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football, possibly in the history of the game. - David Coleman

OK so Portugal versus Holland wasn’t exactly the “Battle of Santiago” but with 16 yellow cards, 4 sent off, cynical hacks, headbutts, bench clearings and scuffles it’s the closest we’ve had at this World Cup.

There’s plenty to blame for the whole well some would say fiasco others fun that ensued, the players the ref and FIFA.

What is it with FIFA (and UEFA) and preening, pompous jumped up…OK it has to be said “Little Hitler” refs who even if FIFA aloowed them wouldn’t have any common sense ?

The fault lies a bit with Pierluigi Collina, not that he was like any of the buffoons on show here but the fact he became famous and these cretins want a piece of that.

The thing is Collina was famous because he was good, yes there was the odd mistake (Villareal v Everton in the last Champions League anyone) but you knew they were honest mistakes. He wasn’t famous for a stupid routine of waving a card at anyone, he wasn’t famous because he thought he was the centre of attention at games like, Milton Neilson, Frisk, Merk, Maier, Poll and the prat in charge here, Ivanov, think they are. (Yes I know some of those aren’t refereeing here)

Saying all that the players have most of the blame really, I mean how bad do you have to be to out dive a Latin team and that’s what Holland did. Christ the slightest touch and they were down quicker than a $10 hooker.

When you see what little a ref is handing out cards for how stupid do you have to be to give him more and more reasons to brandish it ?

Yes Figo put his head into van Bommel, technically a headbutt of the powdewrpuff variety but how long after the incident did the Dutch player dramatically hit the floor holding his face in “agony” ?

The Portugese didn’t help themselves with stupid cards for handball and slowing down play, that saw both players sent off, then Figo’s dramatic face holding repost to van Bommel that got Boulahrouz his second yellow.

The Dutch were pathetic allround, do seem to be a group of individuals rather than a team with the likes of van Persie and Robben and with Kuyt up front I never thought they were going to score, god I hope Spurs go nowhere near him.

Well it’s all good for England with Portugal missing two of their best players in Deco and Costinha, and it was a good laugh to watch trying to figure who would go next.

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4 Comments

  1. Drop Lampard and bring in Crouch – that’s the only change I’d make for Portugal. I thought Carrick was excellent but for all Rooney’s excellent work up front he really needs another striker up there. With Carrick behind and no Lampard getting in the way sticking the ball into the carpark I think Gerrard can make an even bigger impact.

    Beckham still has his uses and is worth his place in the side, no matter how much you protest his uselessness. Lennon makes a great sub.

    We can beat Portugal. They look completely disorganised if exceptionally talented – bunch of pansies when tackled and if England can get the ball of them long enough we can cause them some real pain from Midfield.

    Roll on Saturday!

  2. Crouch and Beckham – ah it’s the long ball game you want ;)

  3. Heh, long balls from the right, Joe Cole dribbling it in from the left and Carrick providing the straight balls from the centre. You never know, it might just work!

  4. Won’t hold my breath

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