So we keep being told, yes Andorra made it difficult for England to beat them 5-0 on Saturday by playing with a flat back 10, but with some forward thinking and guile it should have been easier and more convincing, after all these were amateurs for god sake.
I’m still not convinced by the new regime, oh Gerrard scored a glory goal and provided one cross from the one time he actually stayed out wide, wow give him the man-of-the-match and cream yourself over him McClaren. But as soon as Lennon came on to the right wing you saw what was missing all game for England – pace, dribbling and direct running.
That’s what gets through these type of teams it was screaming out for it from the start, you either get past them or they foul you and there’s only so many times a fullback get away with that. Downing on the left really doesn’t have that pace, he got behind the defence a couple of times but didn’t really convince, he’s just holding the spot ’til Joe Cole is back and isn’t really providing great competition.
Ashley Cole has the ability to run past people on the left but when the ball is involved it seems to confuses him, nose bleed, headless chicken. Miss controlling the ball for the first goal and over hitting the cross for Gerrard’s (do you really think he meant that ?) did another nice job of hiding his lack of quality in the final third from the “pundits”.
Lumpalard shouldn’t have stayed on the park he was useless and it looked like McClaren was doing a Sven and refusing to take the big names off when floundering. His set pieces were piss weak floaty rubbish and he looked back to his World Cup form – respect due Frank – Hargreaves showed that he should be one taking the free kicks etc and why he was the man-of-the-match, it’s not just the number 7 on his back that makes him a replacement for Beckham.
Move Gerrard into Lumpalard’s position and get Lennon on I was screaming at the screen and as soon as the Spurs winger came on you saw why. As soon as the ball looked like it was heading his way the silent crowd (well it was Old Trafford must have been munching prawn sandwiches) lifted the noise and created some type of atmosphere, as he scampered through the defence.
And after all Gerrard was desperate to get into the middle, again leaving the wing to the fullback this time the poor man’s Gary Neville brother Phil – the unacceptable face of English football – who would have thought 6 years after epitomising the shambles that was Keggy’s reign when he gave that penalty away against Romania in Euro 2000 this prat would be an England starter ? He made Cole look great.
Crouch did what Crouch does for England of late, score though I didn’t think he played his usual game as well as he has. And a relief that Defoe scored, after his first snatched chance went wide it could have been a case of really “failing” against a side he should be scoring against but the movement for his first was top class, even considering the opposition and his second was really well taken. Hopefully this will give him the confidence to go on this season for club & country, well until he’s replaced by Rooney for the latter.
Not much to say about the rest of the defence, Hargreaves made sure Brown, Terry and Robinson had little or nothing to do, has Robinson had less to do in 90 minutes of a “competitive” match ?
And so Andorra’s 25% of possession, no corners and no attempts on goal helped along the talk that the big teams shouldn’t have to bother with these nobodies. We should now have pre-qualifying for qualifying.
The funniest really was the Jocks after they managed to put 6 past the Faroe Islands, though the Faroes did manage some corners and shots. A couple of results and it’s like Ally McLeod was still running the game up there as they think they’re in the top echelons of the world game and conveniently forget that during the last Euro qualifying campaign that they found themselves 2-0 down to the rock in the North Atlantic, happy to get away with a draw in the end. That followed a 1-1 draw in qualifying for the previous Euros.
But if the Jocks can put six past anyone then that “there’s no easy games” cliche is absolute crap.