Sunday, March 25, 2007

Euro 2008 Qualifying: Israel 0 - 0 England

Because I am a masochist, I went to the pub yesterday to watch this. And England weren't egregiously awful, but they certainly weren't good either. At least I got some half-decent eggs benedict out of it. And also beer. Beer is essential.

I'm going to do this in bullet points, in no particular order, because I don't think I need to be any more cohesive than England were yesterday:

  • Somebody needs to sit Steven Gerrard down and explain to him -- using small words so he'll be sure to understand -- that just because he's been given license to roam on the right wing doesn't mean he should be spending 80% of the game in the middle of the pitch. Because then you end up with three centre midfielders, a right winger playing left wing, and no right winger at all. In other words, a total shambles. Now, ideally, the person to explain this rather basic concept should be Steve McClaren, but he hasn't done it yet, so I don't hold out much hope.

  • I have yet to figure out what Frank Lampard contributes to the team, other than sauntering around with his shirt off after the final whistle. And that is not exactly a plus, in my book. Gerrard put him through on goal at least twice yesterday, and both times he couldn't even get a shot off. Although maybe he was confused and looking for a defender to deflect it?

  • Aaron Lennon actually looked pretty decent on the left wing. Just imagine how much more useful he'd be if you played him in his proper position, considering that he's not left-footed. But McClaren appears to have some kind of bizarre hate on for left-footers. Or at least sees them as an unattainable luxury.

  • It was about 15 minutes into the game before I noticed that Wayne Rooney had even touched the ball. Which is sort of mind-boggling and also a total waste. He and Andy Johnson were both largely starved for service, and too often what they did get was long high balls. Not the most effective strategy when Peter Crouch is off getting his nose fixed and your forward line is only marginally taller than I am. (For the record: I am not tall.)

  • Also mind-boggling: two of England's best chances fell to Jamie Carragher. Jamie Carragher. Much as I love him, that is not right. Still, he was one of the few players out there who looked like he gave a fuck about winning the game.

  • On the bright side: They kept a clean sheet. Woo.

  • On the not-so-bright side: They didn't lose outright, which means that McClaren will probably keep his job for a little longer. Meh.

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