…against San Marino.
I take it rain interrupted play or was it bad light?
After the debates about the merits of the likes of San Marino being included in the qualifying process for the World Cup or Euros – which always comes around after England have struggled against such sides – I have to say I’ve mixed feelings.
On the one hand they are a waste of time. Bunch of no hopers who bar one ply their trade in San Marino and that trade isn’t football, that other one plays in the Italian fourth division. In the 115 games since their first outing at the “top level” in 1990, they’ve avoided defeat 5 times. One win and four draws.
That win must be a real blight on the record of the Liechtenstein national football team, a team you feel are in the same bracket though they came into the qualifying set up 6 years later than San Marino. Liechtenstein only lost to England 2-0 in both the qualifiers for the 2004 World Cup and just narrowly lost 2-1 to Scotland for the Euros just gone.
But on the other hand watching England struggle at home to the joint lowest FIFA ranked team in the world is frustratingly fun to watch for a masochist.
Masochist that watches it on the telly, or computer, rather than fork out good money to actually watch this spectacle. Even with prices at £20 to £40 quid that was a ridiculous price for a game against San Marino. Though obviously not ridiculous enough to stop the place being almost full.
Maybe people were enthused at the idea of finally seeing an England side without the Golden Generation of Failures. No Gerrard, Lampard, Terry, Ferdinand or Cole.
I did win a small bet on the night, I said they wouldn’t score within the first 20 minutes, even with the stoppage for the visiting ‘keeper wiping out Walcott, they comfortably managed to see out 20 minutes before conceding with the opener coming after 35. I did lose another bet when after Walnut’s substitution I lengthened my prediction to the full half. Only 10 minutes off that. You’d be surprised to learn the talk of that cricket score I heard on news reports throughout the day were met with some derision.
Now if they England, at Wembley, had gone at the break at nil, nil, would there have been boos and if so what would the reaction of Rooney have been in his official capacity as England captain?
Whatever you think about booing your own side going in at half-time without scoring against San Marino deserves bird.
Other than all that what is there to say about the game. Nowt much.
Other than it showed how dim the lot in white were in figuring out how to get past the flat back 10. Constantly coming inside into the completely congested area just in front of the San Marino box was bleeding ridiculous.
Someone needs to take a video of the second goal and show it repeatedly to Lennon and Walker, so both club and country can benefit. How many times this season has Lennon been played a ball through the channel that he can run onto, get to the byeline and cut it back and it’s resulted in a goal? And how many times after that has happened have you seen it happen again in the same game? Well whatever the answer to the first one is the second one is “bugger all”.
It’s the perfect ball to Lennon. Not the high cross field pass to him having to jump on the sideline. Not the ball to him as he’s facing his own have. Not the ball to him when he’s stationery.
Now we just have to wait for Roy to bring back Gerrard, Cole and Johnson for the Poland game. What joy.
So only consolation, well unlike 1993 they didn’t concede this time out. Though like last time will they regret not doing a better job of putting the visitors out of site. Some say 5-0 was par, well they put a net 12 past them in ’93 and not doing more resulted in a wasted trip by yours truly to the U.S. in ’94 – well it wasn’t that wasted – with goal difference being the clincher for the Dutch qualifying before Graham Taylor’s England.