Originally, this was supposed to be a quick note on England exiting the Euro’s. How things change…
Well, once again, England crashed and burned in a “pelanty” shootout. I’m not upset, I never thought we’d even get that far. To be honest, we never deserved to win that shootout, so it was not only a victory for Italy, but a victory for football. We would have only been embarrassed by ze German’s in the next round anyway.
Last night we were completely outclassed. We allowed Pirlo far too much space, and through that, they controlled the tempo of the whole game; causing our 10 men to run around chasing ghosts and bringing on an early fatigue. Perhaps this is the wakeup call Roy “Long-ball” Hodgson needs to finally change his outdated game plan, if he is to stay on as England manager. It’ll have to be, if we want any chance of qualifying for Brazil – where there is a strong possibility, without Gerrard and other key, ageing players, such as Terry – who was superb, and Ashley Cole, that we might not make it out of the group stage. It’s no surprise that the most frequent strings of passes were from Hart, to the 60th minute substitute Carroll, who, try as he may, still couldn’t be the game changer.
Now, Rooney. Quite frankly, Rooney’s two performances over the games he was available for were abysmally off pace. He looked as if he were on a completely different wave length, to not only the team, but the ball too, and is a prime example why you shouldn’t be picked on merit alone. In my opinion – which counts for relatively little, it would have been best keeping Welbeck and Carroll. We had plenty of crosses into the box, which we know from previous experience, he will absolutely nail into the net like it was his fifth Jägerbomb in Heebie Jeebies (Liverpool). He may not be everybodies cup of tea, and he didn’t have the best season pre-Newcastle away, but he ran his not-so-little legs off, and all those balls that seemed to be missed by a hair – cough – would not have been in vain.
Having left school at 16, and barely scraping a C in English language. I’m at a total lack of words to describe the admiration for our skipper, but I’ll have a go. Stevie G is, as he would say, “yeah, erm, fantastic”. His love for the beautiful game, and for the badge on his chest is apparent, and after finally finding the level he’s been searching for for England, it’s totally unfathomable as to the emotion he’s going through right now, coming with nothing but three – now meaningless – assists.
The captains armband gave him the boost he needed to lift not only his own performance, but that of the team. He looked sharper, stronger, faster, and fitter than we’ve seen him at Liverpool for the past year. He was all over the pitch in the past four games. Before, whilst he was standing in, I can imagine feels a lot like borrowing your mothers car. You don’t quite want to go too far in it, and you feel you look a tit in the drivers seat.
A lot of people say that the English Premier League is the best in the world, but what good is it if the dominant teams are filled mostly of foreign players? What chance do England realistically have of competing at the highest level if the teams made up of English players are being relegated? I don’t believe it is anyway. Bilbao proved that point when they spanked Man United, our reigning Champions, and sent them packing. Bilbao finished 10th last season in La Liga.
I also want to talk about Jordan Henderson, who, despite not putting a foot wrong after coming on as a substitute, quickly became the nation’s scapegoat, as if he was supposed to come on and score a hat-trick. Once again, I reiterate that point that we did not deserve to go through. Also, he was substituted for Scott Parker, our defensive midfielder.
Glen Johnson, was superb last night, as he has been for most of the tournament. He made a number of crucial interceptions in their final third, put in a decent cross into the box, made a great run and nearly topped it off with a goal. Had he have been able to get the ball from under his feet properly, he’d have scored. It was a difficult shot, and a decision had to be made in a split second, he made the right one, and was unfortunate, you can’t blame him. Though, if you look on Twitter, you’ll see that many have.. You can blame him for not clearing the ball off the line against Sweden, but it shouldn’t have even gotten that far. A lot of people condemned Roy for not taking Micah Richard’s, but would you really want to take a lad who refused to be put on standby? I can’t blame Roy, Micah is a great footballer, but out of principle, I’d have done the same.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though, for me anyway. We’re going to have a final made up of Germany/Italy vs. Spain/Portugal, and I happen to be of both Portuguese and Spanish descent, so I still have a half chance of some glory this summer, and it’s a good job Luis Suarez has been pictured in Miami, otherwise he would no doubt bared the blame of England’s Euro 2012 exit.