Thursday, 21 June 2007

What. A. Match.

JJ here,

Around about seven last night I began to watch a game of football. By eight o’clock I was in the middle of watching one of the most exciting, utterly brilliant and controversial games in international history. It even had Englishmen actually scoring penalties. What happened???

England u-21s and Holland u-21s drew one-all. Holland won on penalties. They are the facts but they don’t tell anything even remotely like the full story.

There’s so much to go over and my grain of sympathy of England stayed intact for a while – though that’s probably due to not watching the post-match punditry where the words ‘indefatigable’, ‘lions’, ‘heroes’, ‘it just frustrates’ and ‘where was David Bentley’ made several appearances I’m sure.

In no particular order here’s what we now know. Even though I only started watching at the 60-minute mark.

- Steven Taylor is the new John Terry except likeable. He was phenomenal last night and when he stuck away his spot kick I’m not ashamed to say I was delighted for him. A decent defender alongside him at Newcastle and Fat Sam could be in business.

- Scott Carson is a fine goalkeeper but needs MAJOR work on his penalty strategy. Obviously Pepe Reina likes to keep some things to himself. During the game though, Carson was excellent, could do little about Holland’s goal as well.

- England footballers at any level still don’t know how to keep the ball. I know they were down to ten men with Onuoha limping off at the start of extra time (and yes Taylor was also injured) but even at that, when they had 11 men it was hoof after hoof. Holland were bound to score. It’s a huge problem that England will need some time to fix.
I’m sorry, but it’s no good giving excuses about “lionhearts” etc. If this is what they’re happy with then they will fail for generations to come. When Holland equalised, Taylor may have been on one leg but there was plenty of opportunity in the run up to the goal for other players to calm things down and see out the remaining minutes. Instead, they hoofed. England’s best players – defenders to a man.

- I love penalties. This was the greatest shoot out I’ve ever seen.

- Anton Ferdinand can defend! Well we knew that anyway but it’s good to see he still has some of the talent he showed off in the 05/06 season. The final spot kick miss was unlucky, particularly after sticking away his first one.

- When will referees stop letting keepers coming off their line to narrow the angle on penalties? The Dutch keeper did it every time; though the English bench should take some flak for not bringing this up with the fourth official.

- Martin Tyler talks some shite. At one point he said Carson’s positioning was “exceptionally extravagant”. Anybody know what this means? Anybody?

- The Dutch are nothing special. Drenthe is decent but not a world beater and, from much of what I saw, they resorted to pot shots from 30 yards instead of keeping it on the ground. Babel looks a decent player but it was mainly a game of ‘defence versus attack’ (as any English game always is in the latter stages of a tournament); no one can judge the attacking side on that alone…

Oh and if you didn't see all this, check this out:


Podcasting tonight where we'll have results from Spain and the U-21s, Pub Talk, and 'Where are they now' featuring stars, wasters, charlatans and bald Frenchman. Also, plenty of slander, drinking and witty asides as per usual. All will be online tomorrow morning.

Til then folks.


Mark V said...

i never would have thought i'd say this, but i'm sorry i missed the england match last night...

Still, Pearce makes it 3 semi-finals, no final. nice one stu, should have brougth the cuddly toy

JJ said...

It was a cracker, nearly missed 5-a-side football due to refusing to leave the house til it was over. Me being a lazy cunt doesn't help in that situation either though.

Stuart Pearce, what a joker, he'll get the job and say it's to instill grit and heart. Bollocks. Learn how to fuckin pass the ball lads. HThey always provide great entertainment when exiting major tournaments though. Can't fault them on that score.