Archive for June 12th, 2010

What We Learned From Engerland vs USA (1-1)

Engerland Don’t Have The Love

In Brazil, where they play real football, they have a saying, “The first touch is to love the ball, then you can do what you like with it”. The implication is that the first touch transforms the ball from an inanimate thing into an object of desire. Now watching masters of this technique you begin to see how it all happens. Watching Messi earlier today you saw the ball seemingly attached mesmerically to his feet. Engerland, however, don’t hold to this seductive philosophy. Instead, for the Engerlish, the ball is something to be feared, hated and disposed of as soon as possible. How else do you explain our negligent approach to possession. We don’t so much cherish the ball as distain it, seeking to cede possession as swiftly as possible. Where other teams play the ball around the back, the midfield, even the attack, Engerland fall back on the ‘hoof’, lofting the ball over the halfway line to the opposition. Only in the last 20 minutes did Engerland show any willingness to want to keep the ball.

That Was Robert Green’s International Career That Was

With a display of catastrophic ineptitude, Green joined a long line of Engerland goalies. Peter Bonetti against Germany in Mexico 70, David Seamen against Brazil in Japan 2002, Paul Robinson against Croatia in the Euro 2008 qualifiers, Scott Carson against Croatia in the Euro 2008 qualifiers among them. You kind of feel that with his real experience this season being picking the ball out of the West Ham net last season, he wasn’t the best choice for Engerland’s number one. Joe Hart, who pushed Birmingham way beyond where they should have been, would have been a better choice. You also feel that the Engerland coaching staff must supply some kind of special training for this (and I don’t mean post-incident psychological trauma counselling although they would be well skilled in that by now), because you don’t see that level of consistently shit performance without some kind of prior planning. I mean I don’t see the Brazillians or the French, both of whom have had their share of nutter keepers in the past, displaying this regularity of spastic performance these days. I think both Green’s and the entire Engerland goalkeeping staff’s days are numbered.

The Rhino Is An Endangered Species

You can count on the thumbs of one hand (possibly the same outside thumb that Robert Green used to spoon the ball into the back of the net) the number of real game-changing opportunities Wayne Rhino has had in the last four Engerland matches. In contrast to his effect when playing with Man U, where he has had his most successful season, Rhino looks isolated and ineffective for Engerland. He shows none of the potency that announced his appearance at Euro 2004, little of the ambition and, ultimately, isn’t making that much of a contribution to the team. Given he is far and away Engerland’s most skillful player, and really the only Engerland player who can genuinely change an international game, it is criminal to mismanage him this way.

Too Often Engerland Chose The Safe Option

If Engerland have a style (and that’s a pretty big if), it’s that we have fast, pacey wingers and full backs who get down the line, challenge the defence and open up goal-scoring  opportunities. However, currently neither our wingers nor our full backs are punishing their opponents and Engerland don’t really look much of a threat. You need to ask, Do we want to win the World Cup, or just not lose it?

Remember Engerland vs France, Euro 2004? It’s Deja Vu All Over Again

Five minutes to go, Engerland were 1 – 0 up and coasting. They even managed to miss a penalty. Then, in the last 5 minutes, a foul by Heskey provided Zidane with the platform to level the match before a suicidal back pass from Steven Gerrard gifted the French with a penalty that they didn’t miss. Now as then Engerland are their own worst enemy.  Like all the teams we’ve seen, bar possibly the Argies, Engerland look totally beatable.

5 Down 59 To Go

Archive for June 12th, 2010

What We Learned From Argentina vs Nigeria (1-0)

Handbrake On

This wasn’t the overall footy fest everyone anticipated as Argentina did what they needed to without overexerting themselves. Once they got a goal up, they spent their time tippy-tapping the ball about without ever really looking that threatening. Even so, without the excellent Enyeama in goal for Nigeria, Argentina would have won by a handful. You sense that if this had been a knockout round match Argentina would have gone all out for more goals. Certainties to top the Group.

Nigeria Aren’t Out Of The Group Yet

Although they had a few chances right at the death, Nigeria really never looked like getting anything out of this game and based on their performance I’d say they could even be held by the Greeks and well-beaten by the South Koreans. If I was a South Korean, I’d be smiling and not just because they’re topping the Group on goal difference.

Group B Is Better Than Group A

Not a great challenge I have to admit, but at least we’ve seen a glimmer of quality football. Only the rapidly approaching Engerland debacle (sorry that should read match) has any chance of overfootballing us today. Bring it on.

4 Down 60 To Go

Archive for June 12th, 2010

What We Learned From South Korea vs Greece (2-0)

Beware of Greeks Being Shit

By far the worst team on view so far (and with everyone in Group A in the mix that’s saying something), the Greeks have elevated themselves to a unique position in World Football. Coming into this match they had never won a World Cup game, nor had they ever scored a World Cup goal and on this level of performance, nothing was set to change (and you know what nothing did). They are indisputably a bad day Bolton in disguise, playing a game that involves extensive use of the in-the-back barge at every opportunity, along with petulant whining and ref-baiting. Once they were a goal down they never looked like getting back into the game. But when you consider that their main striker, Samaras, finds it hard to get a game, let alone make an impact in the Scottish league, it’s unsurprising that their main talent is bare knuckled defending. They are the MuckDonalds Shit Sandwich of this World Cup buffet. I can’t wait for Argentina to give them the rapacious spanking they so utterly deserve.

The South Koreans Are Kind Like Bunk Moreland

Yes, like Bunk Moreland from The Wire, the South Koreans were gentle when it came time to fuck the Greeks for the first time. They never ran wild, never really tried to force the game and Park Ji-Sung’s solo goal aside, never went out to blatantly humiliate a side that was never really in this game. Admittedly they never really got out of second gear and once they had gone 2 up they really didn’t look too enthusiastic to bust a gut to make it 3. Their match against Nigeria will determine who goes through alongside Argentina.

That Pitch Was Wemberley Class

Cut ups, divots, browning patches. The pitch looked like a badly laid Subbuteo baize that’s been stepped on by those new fangled nail shoes. I don’t fancy being one of the teams playing the fifth game there. It will be a dump by then. Oh hold on, that will be Solvenia vs Engerland. Still at least the boys will feel at home.

Can We Have A Good Game Please

Because so far nothing has really lived up to Premiership quality, let alone Champions League quality.

3 Down 61 To Go