Sunday, June 25, 2006

Climb Every Mountain

England 1-0 Ecuador

Today, England were... okay. Nothing more, nothing less. Apart from one fairly horrific error in the first ten minutes from John Terry, England kept them at bay, Beckham's free-kick was excellent and Rooney improved as the match went on (leading one to believe that he's finding his range again - something that their next opponents will presumably have taken on board). One has to bear in mind that England are playing with a make-shift team, in a formation that's unfamiliar to them, and with one player (at least) playing out of position. We can go over the argument about Theo Walcott and and Jermaine Defoe for the five-hundredth time, but it's old news. Taking all of this into account, they've done pretty well to make the second round. England have no obligation to play beautiful football if they're grinding out results. I would prefer to see them playing badly and winning that playing well and losing.

People are talking about England's competitors as if they're inhabiting another footballing planet, but they're not. Argentina were pushed all the way against Mexico last night. Brazil have had periods that have warranted criticism. Germany were little more than mediocre against Poland, and had to wait until the last minute to score against one of the worst teams in the tournament. Holland only just hung on against an Argentina team that was playing at walking pace and didn't set the world alight against Serbia. Portugal laboured against Angola.

We're right to be concerned about England's state. They have very little on the bench, apart from Aaron Lennon. One more injury could prove to be their breaking point. And they're not playing beautiful football. But we should remember that football is not scored by judges holding up cards giving points for artistic merit. Anything from now on is a bonus, considering the mistakes that were made in squad selection and the injuries that they have suffered.

Who do we fancy tonight? Well, there's not a lot between Portugal and Holland.At the time of writing, Portugal are 1-0 up, but down one man, and they're lucky it wasn't two, given Luis Figo's little head-butt a minute ago. More on that to follow.


discostu said...

Nineteen Ninety Six Ian. Its just a shame we arent playing Holland next.

Tub thumping aside, i thought 4-5-1 was a risky propsition that didnt really work. Rooney was isolated too much, with no support. Beckham still disapeared for large periods, and if it wasnt for his free kick i think he would have been replaced quicker. His crosses in were poor! Hargreaves, who played excellently as holding midfielder had problems at right back, and we still let the equadorians have too much free space in attack. And Robinson? STOP FUCKING KICKING THE BALL TO THE FORWARDS FFS, throw it and play it out, keeping posession you tit.

Against portugal? Carragher at right back. Drop lamplard. Play hargreaves. Play rooney and crouch. 4-4-2. If beckham has another bad 50 mins - SUB HIM for lennon.

Moore said...

I agree with most of your main points tonight. From here on in a healthy slice of luck could bump anyone into the final. I actually fancy us to be the worst team to reach a world cup final since we last performed the trick in 1966.

Portugal will be even more unfamiliar with their line up than we will come next weekend.

Having said that, Big Phil has never lost a game at this level, and one is left wishing he had been sent off too.

If Lampard spends 6 days kicking this new ball from 30 yards and learning to keep it under the bar, I'll have to take next Thursday off work.

Ed said...

When England play like that, I just imagine I'm watching the 1970 Brazil team play. So, I thought we were sublime.

thedacs said...


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