…was a fitting game.
‘Arry could have managed either of these teams in a parallel universe. One where the FA put Spurs fans out of their misery and gave Levy an easy out that he took anyway. The other where the Ukraine FA believed ‘Arry actually meant it and would take the job and wasn’t just trying to force QPR to sack their manager.
England would probably not have looked much different. Though Joe Cole would have been there for Milner probably and Scott Parker would have taken up one the three central midfield spots, maybe Downing in there as well. So wouldn’t have looked too different and wouldn’t have played too different either.
And that’s why I’m talking about the Redknapp hypotheticals and not the actual game that took place. Christ, that was one god awful 90 minutes of football.
A god awful game made even worse by idiots talking up certain players performances in the media. Lee Dixon said Gerrard was terrific or fantastic or some other adjective that was out of place. Ashley Cole was getting 8/10 in the papers and being described as putting on a defensive master-class. And it was all described as a
Well it was a point and that was all.
It all started off for England the way it would continue. From the kick-off the ball was played back to a central defender who then aimlessly hoofed it up the pitch, giving away possession. From there it quickly made it’s way into the England penalty area where in scenes of sheer panic Joe Hart should have been penalised for a foul.
Ah, saved by one of the great unwritten laws of the game of football. Too early. Early enough for a ref to bottle it.
What followed was a too and fro game of ineptitude. England’s hit and hope versus Ukraine’s rush and haste. The former provided absolutely no service what-so-ever to Lambert, who again had to drop deeper and deeper to again become the creator of something he should have been on the end of. The latter saw the home side run past England players with ease then produce poor final balls or decent ones that were ballsed up.
Though we are being told the line that this was great defending it was just poor attacking.
In that first half England’s only chances came from the one time over the last week Walcott hasn’t been brushed off the ball and from a series of corners after Walcott had put his knee into their ‘keeper’s head. Walnutt just epitomised England throughout his time on the park. When not aimlessly wandering around in the wrong place, he’s running in the wrong direction, never has control of the ball and never knows what to do when he has it. Aimlessly wandering around, there really is no movement from this England set up, so many happy to stand there, hide and let others do the work.
At the same time the Ukrainian wide men were running rings around the English fullbacks. Cole was not magnificent. A lot of the time he was completely absent. He can be summed up by the choice of Milner. Picking a wide player because your fullback needs the help. Sounds like the kind of thing the best left-back the world has ever seen needs doesn’t it? Neither offered anything going forward bar one run to the byline and cross by Walker.
In that first half the English midfield trio of two now with 100 caps and the third being the saviour of English football produced
the square root of bugger all. But if you thought that was bad here came the second half. Where that magnificent trio two thirds
golden generation one third golden wonder produced even less while giving the ball away even more.
At various points in that second forty-five their phizog would pop up on screen and you’d say to yourself
Oh Gerrard/Lampard/Wilshere is playing. Anonymous just doesn’t quite cover it.
And then Roy looks at the bench and brings on Tom Cleverly. Rejoice.
Some composure from the hosts and England plus the three points were their for the taking. They didn’t have any and so had to settle for the draw which could have ended up as a loss as in the dying seconds Lampard missed a glorious chance with a header. This was one time the pundits got it right. It would have been very fitting for Lampard to score on his 100th appearance. After all in how many of the previous 99 games has he done sod all only to pop up and score and been hailed magnificent?
And then Roy comes out and tops it all by saying…
I’m surprised to hear what I thought was a good performance and result might be being seen as an underwhelming performance. Roy Hodgson
You thought that was good Roy? Good? Roy the only thing good for you about that game was you didn’t become the first manager to lose away to Luxembourg in a World Cup qualifier since 1972. That’s all.
A group of Ukraine, Montenegro, Poland, Moldova and San Marino and England’s wins have come against the latter two who are the bottom two in the table.
Could ‘Arry have done any worse? Would Brazil 2014 be better off without Roy and his band of usual failures?