Saturday, February 09, 2008

We welcome our new Italian overlords

I finally got around to watching England's first game under Fabio Capello. (I find that they're much more enjoyable to watch when I already know how the match ends.) Anyway, it's encouraging that they won, although I'm certainly not reading much into that, considering that McClaren's tenure started out with a win too.

They didn't play particularly well in the first half -- I kept wondering how you say "Pass to a teammate, for fuck's sake!" in Italian -- but got better in the second half. Which is a nice change from previous incarnations, when they would start games well and then collapse ignominiously.

Other things I approve of:

  • Steven Gerrard captaining the team, albeit temporarily. I thought he should've been made captain when Beckham stepped down, and I kind of hope he gets it now. (Also: Wearing the captain's armband makes any player 10% hotter. Fact.)
  • Capello glowering furiously and barking orders from the touchline. I am all in favour of the yelly style of management -- as my own teammates would attest. And I suspect the England players would probably respond well to that too. Let's face it, some of them are not that bright; they need somebody telling them what to do.

Things I do not approve of:
  • Steven Gerrard in the #10 jersey. I read a theory somewhere that it was an indication that Capello is trying to make him into the playmaker behind the strikers, which is not a horrible idea. But it just looks wrong seeing that number on his back.
  • The new England away kits. What's with the blue accents? They look like they're meant to be Serbia or something. Not that there's anything wrong with Serbia. It's just not England. (I also happened to watch Spain v. France, which featured Spain in yellow jerseys and France in red. What the hell? Have all the kitmakers lost their minds?)

Things I am surprisingly not bothered about:
  • David Beckham not getting his 100th cap. At least with Capello you can believe that he made the decision because it's the right one for the team, not to prove some sort of spurious point with the media. Plus, if I were Becks, I'd rather have the possibility of getting not just a token 100th cap but a 101st and a 102nd if my form merits it. Of course, maybe this is all just a front for dropping Beckham quietly down the road, and if so Capello has played us all marvelously -- in which case, good for him.
  • Michael Owen not playing. Because: See above. Out of Owen, Wayne Rooney, and Peter Crouch, he'd be my third choice as a striker based on the way he's been playing recently. Plus, his little wheely legs could probably use the rest.

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