Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Shiftless, unimaginatve, cosseted England got exactly what they deserved. And still Lampard goes on about how England "deserved" to win.

Message to England: You don't "deserve" anything. The fact that the game originates there and that the Premiership is a half-decent league does not give England the "right" to anything.

It certainly doesn't give England the right to throw away two decades of progress at learning to do things like "passing" and "keeing possession" the minute some 6'6" glandular freak shows up on the field and tempts you to go high and long on route one on the off chance the ball will go in off the freak's head.

And for Christ's sake - how does a country that has gone out of three of its last five tournaments on penalties not practice them sufficiently to avoid the kind of humiliating one-out-of-four performance they put in on Sunday?

The only good Englishman on the pitch was a Canadian. He worked hard, he showed people what England might have been like had Erikison had the cojones to break up the nauseating Lampard-Gerrard duo, and unlike the others he actually scored from the penalty squad. Typical England: leaving the dirty work in a losing battle to the colonials....


Blogger jo said...

They think it's all over…

Ok so they DID underperform relative to their strength on paper, were nervewracking to watch all tournament and it's a shame they seem unable to take the loss as gracefully as they should but you've got to feel a bit sorry for the lads.

First off why does anyone ever expect England to win?? Their soccer history since '66 has been one of disappointment and even when they have moved ahead in the tournament it's been largely unexpected. The real shame this year is that they actually had one of the best chance in a very long time, the individuals in the squad are world class but it's the team part of the game that's never really gelled for them and there was no indication this year was going to be any different.

Kudos to Hargreaves for scoring the only goal for England and having an awesome game all round but doesn't it beg the question why the only player to be able to hold his composure during the match has had very little exposure to the Premier League and the English press? These guys are under immense pressure and they've all been raised during a period of utter football disappointment. There's no great memories of Linekar lifting the cup or Peter Shilton making an awesome match saving penalty save. Quite the opposite in fact: Gazza crying and Chris Waddell taking one of the worst penalty kicks known to man. So historically the English football environment is favourable to choking during at this stage in the competition.

And, although Rooney may not be the sharpest tool in the shed wouldn't you get frustrated if you were the only striker up there in a team of midfielders playing the classic England long ball without success? So when the red card came (deja-vu David Beckham against Argentina 1998 anyone?) it wasn't that unexpected. No, he shouldn’t have risen to the bait but Ronaldo was underhand…pretty much summed but his not so subtle wink to Scolari after the incident. While Rooney may come off as the better player during the club season clearly it's Ronaldo who's the real Alex Ferguson protégé, and yes that does allow players and fans to feel a bit bitter. They've also had some really bad luck. Rooney's underpar fitness after his injury, Owen's departure and Becks, despite some solid performances, was obviously having some fitness issues. It's also got to be said that some bizarre managerial choices were made…taking Theo Walcott instead of Jermaine Defoe??? actually allowing Frank Lampard to step up for the first penalty???

So when the game ended at 0-0 and the death knell sounded at least we were on familiar ground. And yes, it does gets slightly easier to take each time. I'm not saying that they shouldn't have done better nor that all this is psychological…but we shouldn't bash them without taking some of this at least into account.

The omens were always there as far as England is concerned which is more than can be said so some of the other big hitters like Brazil and France (who've by the way have only got through by the skin of their teeth thanks to one man's brilliance during the last game.

9:38 AM  

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