Was that the real Fabio and

the real Fabio’s England?

Ah it was just a blip, a meaningless game, after all look at the past results in qualifying, all handsome wins making these last two games in the group a chance to sit back and relax, looking forward to the flight to South Africa.

The thing is everything that happened in the 1-0 defeat to the Ukraine on Saturday, Fabio’s first taste of defeat in a competitive match, has happened before, many times not only throughout this qualifying campaign but in previous ones as well as the tournaments.

All Rio’s mates in the media tell us it’s an unusually slack moment he had to hand Ukraine the penalty after 13 minutes, they then concede he’s had a few moments like this that have gifted goals so far this season, versus Holland and Man Citeh for example. The conveniently forget that he’s had many, many more moments like this in recent years when on international duty, I’ve lost count of the number I’ve documented on here since the blog started. Every since he got his dream move after the 2002 World Cup – where he was outstanding and by far the best central defender on show – there’s been at least one incident a game for his country. The main difference of late is he hasn’t got away with it as in previous games, goals have been scored directly from his lapses.

Fabio says he’s not worried it only happened once in the game. I don’t know what’s worse the fact that Fabio thinks it’s OK as long as it happens once, even if it results in a penalty. Or the fact he turned a blind eye to another piece of slack play by Ferdinand that resulted in Milevskiy hitting the woodwork, when the England defender also did his usual job of turning his back and poncing out of trying to block the shot. I really hate it when they do that, wonder what Terry thinks about it when he throws himself in front of most things.

But Ferdinand is a Fab Fav, he’s guaranteed his spot no matter what. Remember when Fab told us that only those fit and on form would be picked, well Ferdinand is neither fit nor on form and now he knows he doesn’t have to be to wing his way South next summer.

All Fab’s Favs know that, all those that started on Saturday, Fabio just like Svennis and McClown. Why didn’t he try anything really new in this game, after all what better game could there be, certainly not Wednesday’s nothing home fixture against Belarus. On Saturday it would have been ideal to try new blood and give them a real test, after all they won against a full strength England side, because the Ukraine had something to play for, second spot in the group and therefore a playoff place was still up for grabs.

An away game against a team that needed a victory or a meaningless home game against a team with nothing to play for which would be a better test to see if new players had what it takes.

But no Fabio sticks with his first choice, so when he’s without various members of the First Wives Club come next June – i.e. 6 months away, 6 hard months of the Premier League away – as he undoubtedly will be, he’ll know how they perform in a game that means absolutely bugger all – just like a World Cup game.

So we had Cole at left back dithering about, first few minutes he charges forward gets adjacent to the box and has a panic attack. “What do I do, what do I do, what do I do?” you could see him struggling. And guess what he did? Well as he found himself in the usual body position it was either kick it forward with his right foot – yeah right, like that was going to happen – no he kicked it aimlessly back with his left playing someone else into trouble. Then he spent the rest of the game basically being skinned by Shevchenko. Yes our little left footed flier, “best left back in the world” (© English media) was getting done over by an old carthorse whose pace had all gone. That’s when he wasn’t trying to do a drag back on his own box leading to the winning goal.

Then we had the major turning point of the game, no not the penalty – though you have to ask yourself no matter his great saves later on but have you ever seen James ever get anywhere near a penalty when on England duty. Now it’s England at a World Cup, what chances a penalty save may be required at some point, after all the Germans don’t tend to miss the target as Shevchenko did.

No the major turning point was the substitution to bring James on and in the process take Lennon off. Yes I may be biased towards a Spurs player but all the trouble England had caused the hosts was coming down that right side from the little winger. He was either going past them or getting taken out in the process. So Fabio takes him off. At the same time leaving on Gerrard who did absolutely bugger all, so a standard England outing for him. It’s no coincidence that when the Liverpool captain was replaced by Milner at half time England looked a far better outfit.

At the same time Fabio could have replaced James for Heskey but the latter really is a Fav. The striker – and I use the word in it’s loosest sense – is in even less form that Ferdinand but still gets the nod. So what if he’s not about come June, will we know how another player partners up with Rooney, probably not. In Emile’s defence he himself almost looked totally embarrassed at the situation, sloping around the pitch like he knew with his lack of games for Villa that he really shouldn’t be there. He took this moping about to extremes though when the ball found itself in the Ukraine box and Heskey found himself hiding behind a player in yellow.

But we were left with Heskey up front, miles from anyone flicking on humped up balls to… well not to anyone as one situation pointed out so adeptly when he flicked on a long ball from Rooney to well I suppose he figured it was to Rooney, after all that’s what he’s there for. In a situation like that wouldn’t it be helpful to have a player who could actually control the ball?

So is the real England the one where Fabio makes Svennis like substitutions, blames the ref for initially showing Ferdinand a red card instead of Green. Then tells us he is proud of the team and that they all “play 100%”.

Or is it the Machiavellian coming out in the Italian, who is happier knowing that Ukraine are now more likely to be in South Africa in 6 months time than Croatia.

Was there better things to watch at the match…

…though still not worth £11.99.

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