What a difference a couple of years…

…make.

That wasn’t the same team was it, two years on from the best thing an opposition did for England in getting us rid of the McClown they probably did one of the worst. Sent out one of the most insipid sides to ever roll over at Wembley. Now we’re not just going but we’re going to win…

I’m sure we’ve been here before haven’t we, Svennis the late Sir Bobby they both cruised through qualifying and then what happened? Some of the most dire tournament play you could imagine followed by lots of talk of an unlucky exit.

Thanks Slaven, couldn’t you just have given England a bit of a game and not been that bad last night, a 5-1 thumping does nobody any good, it’s a case of never mind the quality feel the width, it glosses over all the inadequacies on the night, everything that was wrong and not questioned because we can now go on and end those decades of hurt.

All those 9 out of 10 in the papers, all those glowing reports sounding more and more like Ally MacLeod, it’s ours to lose now. But then if you think back over those 90 minutes against an opposition that didn’t turn up who in a white shirt apart from Lennon really shone? Who would walk into a Spain or Brazil on last night’s showing?

Was it the midfield pair that had very little to do defence wise and did very little attacking wise, yes Lampard got on the end of a cross but for the most part when they weren’t giving the ball away they were anonymous. Was it Gerrard who got on the end of two crosses, of course after both he ran off like he’d done all the work and the glory was all his when he was just in the position he should have been as the left sided player. Maybe that does deserve a 9/10 for Gerrard, after all it is very unusual he is in the right place his position dictates, but for one pass what else did he do that really rose above the mediocre? Just think though Gerrard will be back in the middle not fitting with Frank, going for the glory Hollywood balls, once Fabio gets his desire to have Joe Cole back in the side.

Was it Rooney who ran about a lot put one good cross over, a couple of through balls and a tap in that he actually managed to score this time. But didn’t exactly set the place on fire, of course he wasn’t helped by the big lump next to him. All the talk of Heskey or Defoe really missed the point. Yes Defoe probably would have scored those two gilt edged chances that Emile made a complete mess of. Rooney needs a big man up front we are told, if that’s the case wouldn’t someone who can control the ball help. All those long balls up that Heskey flicks off his head to no one, all those that bounce yards off various parts of his body losing possession, who do they help. Yes by all means focus the cameras in on Defoe when Heskey misses yet another sitter but you also need to focus on another big fella on the bench when Heskey losses the ball – Cole. Yes even a Spurs fan is picking a Spammer.

As for Defoe, well it looked like the team were taking orders from Fabio and not giving him any service what’s so ever. The manager showed his stubborn streak not just by picking Heskey to start but persevering with him after every embarrassing stumble and fluffed chance to answer his critics. Why on earth did he come out for the second half, if not for Fabio not wanting others to be proved right.

The defence well when was the last time they kept a clean sheet, going forward we are told all is well but if that’s the case why did Cashley only seem to pass the ball forward once the whole game. Johnson gets blamed last night and on Sunday but Terry is so slow strikers are always getting past him.

And then there’s the other sub that came on, Lennon walks off having done more in an England shirt in 80 minutes than a certain show pony has done for years – look what happened when he came on, one good ball then wasted possession with aimless long balls to the very top of Defoe’s head – yet one coming on gets a far larger cheer than the man-of-the-match. If you only go to the game to see Beckham play and boo before leaving early when you realise he’s not coming on you are the worst type of plastic fan, go read Heat magazine instead. You’re the ones that are keeping him about, it’s not a footballing decision that sees him play, after all Fabio said playing in the US isn’t good enough to get into the side.

What do you reckon then home from South Africa after the quarter final on penalties?

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2 Comments

  1. Both Spurs & England on extended unbeaten run and you’re still being a critical, old grouse ;)

    • I haven’t groused about Spurs… yet ;)
      As for Fabio’s Favs, do you really want to see Beckham try and run round in another World Cup, Gerrard adding another undeserved cap to the 74 he already has or Heskey falling over with an open goal in front of him.

      Remember ’88, cruised through qualifying unbeaten, team of superstars, no contest, well they weren’t a contest for anyone in the group stage.

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