Watching England getting thrashed 0-0 by Algeria was like watching your only child being pummeled in the boxing ring to within an inch of his life.
As a footballing nation, we have always expected too much and delivered too little. But I have never witnessed England perform so ineptly. Rudderless, bereft of ideas and technical incompetence were just a few of the good points of my national team.
After the USA game, Robert Green came out and said that 999 times out of 1,000 he would have saved the shot he fumbled. As an ex-goalkeeper, (yes, I was the smallest goalkeeper in the world), I think he should save that shot 1000/1000. It was billy basic. Straight at him. I can make that sort of mistake playing Sunday League. But a ‘world-class’ keeper on 80 squillion quid an hour – come on, it’s your job. The entire nation should not have to poo their pants every time a ball is kicked straight at you.
I have always been a realist and never quite succumbed to the delusions of grandeur that the team and the media purport to. But in my heart of hearts I have always hoped. And dreamed. That somehow – magically, we could play great football. That we could pass like the Spaniards, dribble like the Brazilians, defend like the Italians, shoot like the Argentinians and have the humility of the Faroe Isles.
At least when England return to Blighty on Thursday we can all sit back, relax and enjoy the rest of the tournament. Not that there looks to be much on offer from the rest of the teams, save for Argentina.
The Mighty Leeds United’s Jermaine Beckford would have fayred better than messers Rooney, Heskey, Crouch and Defoe. (Did you know, a North Korean goalkeeper has scored more goals than Emile Heskey?) In fact, I think a Royal Mail postbox has scored more goals than Emile Heskey.
…England are to have any chance of getting Slovenia to roll over they will have to play, not like their lives depend on it, but like they are playing an exhibition match. It’s the end of the road for Lampard, Gerrard and Terry. They’ll be too old by the time the next world cup comes around. So here’s their chance. Take it. Grab it. Play like it doesn’t matter. Because I’d rather see us go out playing great football than progress playing the way we did against Algeria. Normally, my Irish mates rip the piss out of me when England lose, but after the Algeria game I think they felt a bit sorry for me. Now that is embarrassing.
I did a post a week or so before the tournament why England wouldn’t win the world cup. (I didn’t think we would beat the USA.) And after that performance I couldn’t believe the arrogance of the TV pundits who said we would win the next two games. (Even though we should expect nothing less from such morons.) After the USA game I thought Algeria could quite easily get something out of the game against England. So are the pundits inept or just jingoistic? Could I get a job as a pundit? Here’s my prediction for Wednesday: England 0 Slovenia 1.
I think FIFA need to make some radical changes to the set up for the 2014 world cup. I propose that any player playing in a country’s premier league should be eligible to play for that country’s national team. If it did get through it would be interesting to see if any English players would make the first XI.
ENGLAND 2014 NATIONAL TEAM
8. FABREGAS (He’ll be back)
Oh, and Fabio… please play Joe Cole.