Saturday, 19 June 2010
Oh dear, oh dear... England expected but England failed to deliver. Never before in my many years of watching England have I witnessed such jaw-dropping awfulness on a football pitch in a major tournament. To get one draw in the World Cup is unfortunate. USA played well and England (like many other top teams) played cautiously. But to draw two, and against such inferior opposition is, quite frankly, seven shades of crapola.
And if ever the omens were on England's side before the game had even kicked off, then this was it. Germany had previously lost to Serbia and even missed a penalty... are you having that? And then in the other group match, USA and Slovenia gifted England a draw. All they had to do was get a 1-0 win. Shouldn't be too hard to ask for our multi-millionaire, world-famous, world-class, highly trained England team should it? Instead, the team couldn't pass, couldn't cross the ball, couldn't tackle and more worryingly didn't look even remotely happy to be there. There was no cohesion and you were left thinking where on earth is the goal going to come from. Uncomfortable viewing from an expectant nation back home and in the stadium where the England fans far outnumbered the Algerian fans, there were boos at the final whistle. Rooney turned to the camera and began his swearing tirade against the English fans who had the temerity to boo the England team's performance. This may come as some surprise to you Wayne, but fans pay thousands of pounds and take weeks off work to watch their team try and win games like this. There can be no complaints from any of the players on the booing and heckling they received last night in Capetown. The fans expect passion, leadership and a desire to win their matches with some panache and skill. Thousands of fans follow the team to all outreaches of the world, often at great expense whilst the England team usually consisting of 40 players and about 189 backroom staff, are flown in first class and stay in 5 star accommodation. When England play teams like Algeria (who alongside New Zealand) are probably the worst team in the competition, and only manage a 0-0 draw, the fans have every right to show their displeasure. Rooney is at best being a tad naive if he thinks the fans are wrong to boo and instead should applaud the team off the pitch after witnessing that. Keep your mouth shut and reflect on the fact that you played quite probably the worst game in an England shirt and remember to never ever blame the fans for giving you or the other ten players a hard time because you deserved it.
And so to Wednesday crunch match against Slovenia. England need to deliver and fast. Capello needs to play Joe Cole, and Jemaine Defoe up front with Rooney. Put Carrick on as an extra scoring chance. Mix it up and play like it's the last match ever... because on last night's showing and in this World Cup, it very probably could be.