Despite His White Boots

Football, football, football and, if the mood takes me, more football.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Better Luck Next Time

For England, who huffed and puffed but eventually came up against a half-decent team, couldn't score, suffered from a moment of indiscipline and then bounced out on that old penalty "lottery". Damn these lotteries. How come we always lose and the Germans always win ? It must be rigged. Either that or it isn't a lottery at all, it's a test of nerve and technique that our players repeatedly fail.

Hats off to Sven for at least refusing to blame anyone else, but as I said right at the start it was crazy to only bring four strikers, of whom two were injured, one was completely untried and the other was Peter Crouch. Fair enough, Hargreaves came in and did well, I'll hold my hands up to that, but the mystifying choice of Jenas ahead of another attacking option was a severe handicap.

Perhaps more on England later, including my general thoughts that goalscoring midfielders flatter to deceive and, Lampard being the prime example in this campaign, are often shown up for their lack of craft when they're not troubling the onion bag. A genuine international midfielder who also scores goals, like Bryan Robson, is worth his weight in gold. A flashy goalscorer who can't tackle and doesn't know how to dictate the tempo of a game, however ... and as for playing two of them in the same side ...

Meanwhile, keen as I am to skim over this, the team I backed to win it have been eliminated by the team I rubbished more than any other pre-tournament. I hope no one had any actual money on these tips :-). Fair play to France too, I didn't give them a cat in hell's chance of beating Spain and Brazil but they've done it. Germany, Italy, Portugal and France. Would you call any of them more than decent ? You can't point to anyone better who's been knocked out - Argentina maybe, but that 6-0 everyone was creaming about was against a team who didn't make a tackle for 90 minutes. With three games to go, I think if we don't see at least one classic and preferably two, this World Cup will not live long in the memory, myself.


  • At 9:02 AM, Blogger uncle monty said…

    Without wishing to blow my own trumpet too much, I did tell you a month back that the lad Hargreaves was actually a very good player, when played in his natural holding role. He was also relatively fresh, having been injured for a large chunk of the season and only coming back in the latter part of the season.

    Which brings me on to the question of knackeredness. Jaded is how I'd describe Gerrard and Frank 'I never miss a game' Lampard. I really do believe that these two played way too much football this season and that can't have helped one bit. Gerrard barely had three weeks off between winning the CL and starting the CL qualifiers last season!

    As for Rooney - I can't say I blame him to be honest. He's still just a kid and must have been as frustrated as hell at how isolated he was. Ronaldo didn't really do a lot wrong in asking 'did you see him stamp on my mate's bollocks?', although the little wink to the bench afterward was probably a little ill advised and will see him get a mile of shit from all and sundry next season.

    I hope France win it now. Them and the Boxheads are the only sides left that have actually tried to play football. And having said recently how Zidane was gone at the game, the great man had me eating a very large slice of humble pie on Saturday night. What a truly beautiful player he is. It'll be a sad day when he hangs up his boots. The best I've seen in my lifetime.

  • At 12:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So, who is the laughing un now, eh? All zis time you make jokes by moi but zut alors, which equipe make ze finale, eh?

    I spit dans your general direction, hein. Fwooup.

  • At 1:56 AM, Blogger Andy_Ward said…

    What can I say ? I bow down to your astrological powers. I should have realised that Jupiter was ascendant in Capricorn the whole time. Or something.

    Andy :-)


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