Archive for the ‘England’ Category

EF

(England supporters strike a pose which has become all-too familiar over the last 50-odd years)

Now that the dust has settled on England’s World Cup success/failure, do we really have a team capable of winning a future tournament?

On the evidence of this one the answer has to be a pretty emphatic NO.

Even the “experts” are finally starting to come round to our way of thinking which, all along, has been that this was an average England team and they put in some very poor performances on their way to fourth place. (more…)

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After tomorrow there will probably be very few articles on the subject of the World Cup. The winner will have been decided and, hopefully, Croatia will have collected the trophy for the first time ever. The alternative is another four years of French strutting and preening which, while not unusual, would definitely be more annoying.

Today, England met Belgium in the meaningless third placed play-off game. A game into which the England manager was trying to inject some life. He was doing so by trying to convince a very dubious public and an even more dubious WSA, that the game was not meaningless. (more…)

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It doesn’t really matter whether England finish third or fourth. For them, the World Cup is over. FIFA prolonging their stay in Russia is more like a punishment rather than any prestigious ending to the competition.

On the positive side, the game on Saturday gives England’s reserves a chance for some revenge on Belgium’s reserves for the 1-0 beating they handed out in the group stage. On the negative side, nobody cares.

The result of that game, which decided who won the group and who finished second, was the biggest mistake made by the two teams. Had they contrived to let England win the group then the team would probably have lost in the quarter-final to Brazil. (more…)

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England finally reverted to type. Having beaten the team four places below them in the world rankings to reach the semi-final they then went out, quite tamely, to the team eight places below them.

In fairness, they have made massive strides forward by getting this far in a World Cup but, also in fairness, they came a cropper as soon as they met a decent team.

Forget Belgium in the group stage. That wasn’t a competitive game. It was a game between two reserve teams who had seen their senior players already qualify for the next stage. So the first real test was against Sweden and they passed with flying colours. They passed mainly because Sweden failed to work out the English system. (more…)

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Win one more game and England are there! They will be participating in their first World Cup final since 1966.

Why is that? Do they suddenly have a team better than the one which included Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne? Are they a notch up from the Alan Shearer generation which included the likes of Paul Scholes and David Beckham? How about the team of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard? (more…)

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(Harry opens the scoring but it isn’t Kane, it’s Maguire!)

So the final match in England’s bid to reach their first World Cup semi-final since 1990 got underway today. After a cagey opening twenty minutes or so England grew into the game. Sweden didn’t really threaten at all in the first half and it was no real surprise when an Ashley Young corner was headed powerfully into the net by Harry Maguire.

They would have scored at least another goal, if not more, had they had someone other than Raheem Sterling on the pitch. He dithered, dallied, lost the ball, made the wrong decisions and was almost personally responsible for the score only being 1-0 at half-time.

He hasn’t yet scored at this tournament and, on the only occasion he was dropped in favour of Marcus Rashford, the United player looked a lot better in the role. (more…)

After what seemed to be a year-long wait, which actually lasted a whole two days, football is finally back. We never thought we would be pleased to see the return of the international version of the game but, when nothing else is available, beggars can’t be choosers.

No doubt we will even sit up through all hours of the night watching meaningless pre-season tour games when they begin in three or so weeks as well.

Still, there’s some meaningful stuff has to happen between now and then such as the little matter of who is going to be crowned World Champions. Now that we are sure it won’t be Germany, picking the winner is not as straightforward as it once was. (more…)

gandh

Nothing is happening. It’s as if somebody has pressed the global pause button. The World Cup has ground to a halt, even if only for two days. The transfer window is in danger of becoming even more boring than that game between France and Denmark.

What is going on and where is the news?

It got so bad that poor old Jim White on Sky Sports News had to resort to reporting the “incredible” news that a man had seen a bear in the woods in Montana and a shark had been spotted in the sea off the Australian coast! Truly incredible stuff!

Not to worry, avid readers, if there is any football-related news we will find it. Even if we have to actually read some other rags to do so. As far as the World Cup goes, this is what we think we know. (more…)

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The afternoon matches today were from the tightest group. Going into the games Japan were top with four points, Senegal were second, also with four points, and Colombia were third with three points. By this time Poland were already eliminated having lost their two opening games.

So it was a three horse race whereby the first two would progress to the last 16. From a fan’s point of view it was extremely nail-biting stuff particularly if the flavour of those nails happened to be Colombian, Senegalese or Japanese! (more…)

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Today it was England’s turn again. When listening to the pundits, in this case Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Alan Shearer, it would be easy to think that the team are among the favourites to win the World Cup this time out.

The three of them, along with host Gary Lineker, were almost gushing in their praise of how England managed to miss a few chances then scrape a 2-1 win, courtesy of a goal in injury time, against Tunisia who, a few days later, the Belgians put five past!

When the game against Panama kicked off England had only made one change which was Dele Alli being replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The constantly misfiring Raheem Sterling should have been replaced but, for some reason known only to Gareth Southgate, he wasn’t . (more…)