Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Speaking of losing one's ever-loving mind...

A couple months ago I attempted to predict who Sven would take to Germany. I only got 17 out of the 23 right, but come on: Theo Walcott? Not even Miss Cleo could have predicted that one.

Paul Robinson
David James
Robert Green

All the obvious choices. Green gets the third spot over Scott Carson because he's been playing more regularly.

Who I picked: Robinson, James, and either Green or that guy whose name I don't remember...Chris Kirkland?

Who got screwed: Carson (on standby), Kirkland (I think he's injured), those of us who'd be more comfortable if England had a truly world-class keeper

Gary Neville
Rio Ferdinand
John Terry
Ashley Cole
Sol Campbell
Jamie Carragher
Wayne Bridge

The first four pretty much pick themselves. A half-bonkers Sol Campbell is apparently better than a half-fit Ledley King, as far as Sven's concerned. Wayne Bridge is there to cover for Ashley Cole in case he breaks again, and Jamie Carragher to cover for all the rest of them (no pressure, Carra!).

Who I picked: Carragher, Terry, Ferdinand, Neville, Cole, Bridge, Ledley King, Luke Young

Who got screwed: King (metatarsal injuries are only excusable if you're a striker), Carragher (even though he's in the squad, he's never going to get a start), Luke Young (on standby), Wes Brown (out injured too much recently)

David Beckham
Michael Carrick
Frank Lampard
Steven Gerrard
owen Hargreaves
Jermaine Jenas
Stewart Downing
Joe Cole
Aaron Lennon

Again, Beckham, Gerrard, Lampard and Cole are the obvious choices for the starting XI. The other players Sven's picked -- an extra midfielder instead of a fifth striker, and not even a "Hey, let's pretend that Ledley King is a holding midfielder" -- seem to suggest that he's planning to play an attacking 4-5-1, with wingers to support the lone striker. Which, as a matter of fact, is pretty much what I'd suggested. I didn't think of Stewart Downing, though, mostly because I tend to forget that Middlesbrough exists.

As for Jenas: I understand that every team needs a scapegoat, someone who, when we're up 2-1 and looking to hold on to a lead, and you see him waiting to be subbed on, the entire nation can groan "Oh great, now we're screwed." I just thought that's what Owen Hargreaves was for. (Seriously, does he have incriminating photos of Sven or something?)

Who I picked: Gerrard, Beckham, Lampard, Cole, Carrick, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Scott Parker, Kieran Richardson

Who gets screwed: SWP (sitting on the bench doesn't get you to the World Cup, no matter how much you're getting paid to do it), Richardson (Aaron Lennon gets the token left-footer's spot), Scott Parker (mono's a bitch), Nigel Reo-Coker (on standby; huh, really?), Kevin Nolan (still the poor man's Steven Gerrard), Phil Neville (one Neville is more than enough)

Wayne Rooney
Michael Owen
Peter Crouch
Theo Walcott

Two gimpy strikers, Mr. GTFABM himself, and a teenager who doesn't even have his driver's licence yet (on the plus side, at least he's one footballer who won't get arrested for drinking and driving). Actually, though, taking Walcott isn't a bad idea, if you're looking at it as a chance for him to get some experience and maybe bring him n as a super-sub. If you're looking at him as a backup for one of the two main strikers (Rooney and Owen), then yeah, it's kind of nutty.

I really hope that Sven will bite the bullet and call up a replacement if Rooney isn't fit in time, but after seeing the squad he's picked, I have officially given up on trying to predict his behaviour. Maybe he'll just use John Terry as a fifth striker instead (hey, if it works for Chelsea...).

Who I picked: Rooney, Owen, Crouch, Jermain Defoe

Who gets screwed: Defoe (on standby, and bitter about it), Andy Johnson (not playing in the Premiership = standby), Darren Bent (got one chance to impress, against Uruguay, and flopped), every other English forward over the age of 18


sarah said...

As someone who isn't supporting England (at least, not in my top three teams), I am happy to see Walcott go. Of course, as an Arsenal supporter, any experience he can get is a good thing.

I admit, though, that he isn't the best choice. Just the risky one, which shouldn't be surprising at all.

ynba said...

Why do I feel sad for Phil Neville? This makes no sense, since I've never liked him. Also Darren Bent and Scott Parker. I may have problems.

I wish we were taking another striker, but I guess Sven's thinking that Cole or Gerrard can play in support of whichever striker we put up there alone. (Dear Sven: neither Owen nor Crouch do well as lone strikers. Ask Rafa about this.)

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footie girl said...

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