…it was only England after all.
Not only that it’s still a Fabio led England, with much of the same dead wood hanging onto their places as competed with France during the World Cup for the worst team on show title.
Yup while the French saw their embarrassment in South Africa as a catalyst to rid them of the idiot in charge, one that had actually led them to a World Cup final, and kick out a bunch of egos masquerading as players. The F.A. chose the same state of national embarrassment to keep the useless bunch.
Which led us all to Wembley last night and the highly predictable England v France game. Because we all knew no matter how poorly France were during the summer, how far down the FIFA rankings they’ve fallen – 21st compared to England’s bizarre position of 6th – they would outclass their hosts. Because every time England come up against a reasonable team with players that can keep the ball and pass it to their own team-mates, it’s a one sided affair.
And so it was proved.
A shocking display by England, rightfully booed at the break, as when they weren’t having rings run round them by players in blue they were panicking into passing back so the centre-backs could dither about before the predictable aimless hoof up the park. Nominally in the area of Andy Carroll, most got nowhere near him. But what more can we expect when Fabio thinks Jagielka is a right back and Lescott is an international player. The latter can’t be accommodated in a back pair with Ferdinand, the similarities are too much, from the dithering to those humps up the park to my personal favourite which was highlighted in glorious technicolor slow-motion as Gourcuff given plenty of freedom lined up a shot, gave it a bang and at the very last second 24 million pound man Lescott completely ponced out of blocking it. Pure Ferdinand style.
Ah Ferdinand, the lip is back, static as a lumpen leaden static thing when Benzema scored the opener. So the back line was useless, slightly better when Richards came on and Jagielka moved to his actual position but on the left Gibbs didn’t exactly excel.
Midfield was… was it there, saw Barry in the first couple of minuted try and win the ball back it was the most I’ve seen him do in an England shirt for quite a number of games, it was the only thing he did in that first 45 minutes before his replacing was met with cheers. Milner ran about a bit but is too slow for the winger role when facing a fullback with any pace. Walcott, well hardly saw the ball, especially out wide, did come inside for it a couple of times but when he did have possession he showed how far he’s regressed and that he just hasn’t a footballing brain.
Henderson, well much made about the number of youngsters and those not playing regularly thrown into the game because of players missing, well the French had the same number of caps on the field, players missing, youngsters and those not turning out for their club. Excuses. Well back to the Sunderland youngster, looked completely out of his depth, of course not helped by those round him, Barry doing nothing, Gerrard being in full “do you know who I am” demanding the ball mode and the defence kicking the ball repeatedly over his head.
Gerrard oh god here we go, all the usual crap from his fanboys on telly, as he did the usual, minced about giving nothing and going for glory, personal glory at every Hollywood ball opportunity. From the moment he took a very early free kick, you knew what to expect, though Graham Taylor would have been surprised because he didn’t pull up his socks before wasting the chance. Oh wow he chased in some balls and nodded the ball onto the bar once, well anoint him the new Zidane.
Carroll, all alone up front being forced to try and get on the end of all those aimless hoofs, if he gets there flicking them on to no one. Not his fault at all, all down to the delivery he wasn’t getting. When he did get decent ball he showed a bit. But with a big fella up there , who is good in the air and four wingers used the irony that France scored their second from about the first decent cross of the night, scored by Valbuena, who showed when he celebrated that he is barely taller than the corner flag. He’s a bloody dwarf, for christ’s sake. Nicely left to get into the box by Gerrard.
Substitutes made a difference, Young and Johnson showing more life than others, Bothroyd looked second division and of course Crouch did his job, second touch wasn’t it not first? Great surprise not that he scored as a sub or indeed it wasn’t against one of the minnows but that as a Spurs payer he didn’t end the game on a stretcher or hobbling on crutches.
To sum the game all up as the rain fell on Wembley Fabio might as well have hoisted a brolly and admit he’s just another McClown.
England 1 – 2 France