Sunday, 13 June 2010
World Cup observations so far...
The bloody vuvuzelas are awful. My old mate Lutch nailed it when he mentioned It's A Knockout (internationals - correctly titled Jeux Sans Frontieres of course) and I certainly feel that the constant enervating drone does nothing to enhance the match atmosphere - quite the opposite in fact.
Timing is going to be a bit of a pain in the arse over the next couple of weeks, with no telly and severe internet restrictions at work, so I will be taking lunch at just before 12.30 and finding a TV somewhere, and then using the BBC text updates for the 3 o'clock games. Not ideal, but what can one do?
The games themselves haven't done much to stir the soul, although the Argies were value for money and were unlucky not to repeat previous escapades with a hammering of the Super Eagles, who (with the exception of their keeper) were not really all that super, one has to say. Brazil, Holland and Spain are all yet to come, so I do expect to see things picking up on that front. Which brings me on to the sorry state of affairs that is the England squad.
I think I may have already blogged about the paucity of options available to my uncle Clive - sorry, I mean Fabio Capello - when choosing his squad, and that particular issue was most clearly illustrated during last night's exertions. Skating over Green's excruciating error (what else can one do?) Heskey did - as the media are saying - have a good game, but demonstrated clearly why he is not a striker when handed a golden opportunity to score in the second half. Straight down the Tourette throat of Tim Howard. Both Lennon and SWP (though being deployed on the left is hardly the most effective use of little Shaun, is it?) failed to really make an impact, with the final ball almost always a disappointment.
Lampard was largely anonymous; King's injury-enforced withdrawal was entirely to be expected, but leaves us dangerously exposed - Carragher's lion heart in no way compensating for his lack of pace; and, worst of all, England persist in playing a one dimensional game. I mentioned the Argies earlier, and against Nigeria they displayed the kind of patience and skill needed if a team is to make any progress in the competition by holding on to the ball for extended periods. Something which England patently cannot do. Is it really that hard to string a few passes together against a side who could really be described as efficient at best? If it is, then England have no hope of progressing any distance. They cannot pass the ball unless they are marauding forward on the break, Rooney stretching every sinew to score, and as such always appear fragile and exposed.
To be fair, I had little or no expectation of England making any impact on these finals, so really have no right to be too disappointed, but it is still galling.